There has been a deluge of misinformation about HR 4089, the most significant pro-hunting legislation of the last 15 years. This past Friday the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance provided a complete legal analysis that debunks the propaganda of the animal rights and environmental lobby piece by piece.
In one of the latest fundraising pleas from the world’s most powerful animal rights group, the Humane Society of the United States intentionally misleads readers about legislation moving through Congress that protects the rights of American hunters, anglers and recreational shooters:
The alert begins with a distorted and misleading description of H.R. 4089:
Save Wildlife: Bill Puts Polar Bears At Risk
Polar Bears and Wildlife in Peril
The so-called “Sportsmen’s Heritage Act of 2012” is a highly controversial bill that combines several radical hunting proposals into one package. This legislation seeks to: a) indulge a small group of wealthy trophy hunters who want to import polar bear trophies from Canada in defiance of current law; b) mandate that federal agencies open nearly all federal public lands to hunting without regard to the impact on wildlife and other resources; and c) strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its ability to protect habitat, animals, and people from lead poisoning through toxic ammunition exposure.
Then the fundraising appeal asks readers to contact their U.S. Senators:
Please make a brief, polite phone call to both of your U.S. Senators, urging opposition to H.R. 4089. Look up your senators’ phone numbers. You can say: “H.R. 4089 just passed the House, and I wanted you to know that I adamantly oppose this bill, as it would undo protection for polar bears, mandate hunting on public lands including National Parks, and strip the EPA of its ability to protect people, animals, and the environment from poisoning through toxic lead ammunition exposure.”
The underlined portion is the part that people “can say,” when they reach their U.S. Senator. That part is true. They can say those things. They would just be blatantly lying.
Let’s begin with lie #1: polar bears
The US Fish and Wildlife Service listed polar bears as endangered in 2008 over the objections of the Canadian government, American sportsmen and native tribes in the Arctic. Prior to the listing taking effect, forty-one Americans legally took polar bears in Canada. The trophies have been marooned in Canada since.
The language in HR 4089 simply allows these 41 trophies to be brought into the United States. It does not re-open any additional polar bear importation. It does not remove current protections on polar bears. The 41 bears in question are already dead.
Lie #2: Unregulated hunting on public lands
Hunting seasons and bag limits on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands are set by the individual state wildlife agencies as part of their mission to manage wildlife. H.R. 4089 does nothing to change that. The state’s authority to consider the impact of hunting is maintained entirely.
Lie #3: Hunting on National Parks
H.R. 4089 does not mandate hunting on National Parks, period. Nowhere can that language be found in the bill. In fact, there is language in the bill that specifies nothing in the bill “requires the opening of national park or national monuments under jurisdiction of the National Park Service to hunting or recreational shooting.”
Lie #4: EPA’s ability to protect people from poisoning from lead in ammunition
U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (an Obama appointee) recently rejected a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to ban the use of ammunition and fishing tackle containing lead components. Her reason: EPA does not have the authority under the Toxic Substance Act to take such an action. CBD announced its intention to force EPA to take action anyways through a lawsuit. H.R. 4089 simply confirms what the EPA has already determined – the law does not provide authority to take that action.
As for humans, the Center for Disease Control already debunked anti-hunting propaganda when it found there were no adverse effects on those who ate wild game that had been shot with ammunition containing lead.
For wildlife, the authority to regulate ammunition and fishing tackle continues to be the purview of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service and state fish and wildlife agencies. These agencies have taken action concerning lead where it has been shown to be necessary such as for ducks and geese.
HSUS uses constituents as human shields
HSUS derives many benefits from people thinking they operate local animal shelters. They have a lot of credibility based on that perception. People want to believe the words they write. Sending them in to lie to their Congressman is a terribly dishonest move.
Those who do make the calls could be in for a humiliating experience if they get a Senator or a congressional staff member on the telephone line who tells them they are wrong about H.R. 4089.
Just like they’d be wrong if they thought HSUS takes care of local stray dog and cats.