- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 5, 2003

The Safari Club International, one of the leading hunter organizations that works to protect the freedom to hunt, passes along word that the U.S. District Court has, for a second time in three months, ruled against the Fund For Animals and other such groups.

The original lawsuit by the animal rightists unsuccessfully challenged the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s authority to issue trophy importation permits on animals coming from three Central Asian countries. “Justice and fact again have prevailed over misinformation spread by animal protectionist groups,” said Kevin Anderson, chairman of SCI’s Legal Task Force. “Slapped twice, they should wake up and realize that they cannot impose their extremist agendas on sovereign nations that are effectively conserving wildlife.”

The two rulings by Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court in D.C. dealt specifically with legally harvested Argali sheep from Mongolia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, but they represent vital legal precedent for a wide variety of species hunted by Americans internationally. Evidence has shown U.S. hunters pay the highest prices for hunting permits in many countries, and permit revenues are being used in part for conservation and in part to convince local people not to poach valuable and renewable wildlife resources.

The federal court again cited the documents filed by Safari Club International as support for its original July31, 2003 decision — that the Fund For Animals has no legal standing in the lawsuit it filed against the federal Fish and Wildlife Service.

Plaintiffs had asked the court to reconsider its July31, 2003 decision in which the court stated that plaintiffs had “failed to demonstrate that they likely will obtain redress from a favorable decision on the merits.” On Oct.30, 2003 the court found the plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration to be “basically no different than the argument they presented in their underlying Motion for Summary Judgment.”

The SCI was joined in its successful motion to intervene on behalf of the Fish and Wildlife Service by the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance Foundation. The judge also granted a summary judgment motion by the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep and other sportsmen’s organizations, as well as a legal standing argument by the government of Mongolia.

Antifreeze maker now likes hunters — After receiving many complaints from hunters, a leading engine antifreeze producer has decided to end its association with an animal rights organization.

In a letter to the Columbus-based U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Old World Industries Inc., the makers of PEAK and SIERRA antifreezes, wrote, “[We] made a decision to sever our sponsorship with the American Humane Association [AHA].” The AHA opposes all hunting and trapping. Old World Industries had been running a rebate promotion that allowed consumers to donate their refunds to the AHA. Sportsmen nationwide were furious about the sponsorship and flooded the company with phone calls, faxes and letters in opposition.

PEAK product manager Ed Powderly said Old World Industries was unaware of the stances AHA had taken against sportsmen’s rights.

Strong opposition to marlin limits — The Recreational Fishing Alliance strongly opposes a proposal by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to limit recreational billfish anglers to 250 blue and white marlin combined. By doing so, the NMFS conveniently ignores the tremendous damage done by commercial longliners, most of them from other countries, but instead seeks to punish sport anglers who account for less than 1 percent of the total marlin mortality. Marlin populations have declined tremendously in the past 15 years. The white marlin, in fact, could be declared an endangered species.

I have a suggestion, NMFS. Pull your heads out of the sand and realize who’s doing all the damage to our planet’s natural resources. It isn’t the sport fishermen. According to statistics from the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), nearly 7 million pounds of blue and white marlin were landed by pelagic drift longliners in 2002.

cLook for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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