For Immediate Release:
July 27, 2018
David Perle 202-483-7382
Washington – According to reports, between 2016 and 2018, the U.S. government quietly issued more than three dozen permits to import lion “trophies” into the country—despite the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) prohibition on importing lions’ body parts—likely in exchange for donations to “conservation” organizations.
PETA, which has filed numerous lawsuits challenging this “pay-to-play” policy, notes that the vast majority of the permit recipients were represented by Conservation Force, a law firm that advocates for hunters and secures permits for the slaughter of captive animals on U.S. canned hunting ranches as well as trophy import permits. Several recipients of these permits have made massive donations to Republican candidates and committees, and at least one of them was also appointed to the Trump administration’s International Wildlife Conservation Council, which was recently created to facilitate and expand trophy hunting. The permits were also issued without the public notice and comment period required by the ESA.
Please see the following statement from PETA Foundation Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is secretly handing out permits for high-rolling Republican donors to join the ranks of insecure, desperate-for-power trophy hunters who tear families apart and leave orphaned animals in their wake. Lions are the latest to pay the price for the corruption involved in this outrageous “pay-to-play” policy, and PETA will continue to challenge it every step of the way.
PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way,” and more information about the “pay-to-play” policy is available here.