AREN'T WE ALL ANIMALS?
The expression, “knowledge is power” has always resonated with me. But it’s hard to know what to really put our attention to. We are inundated with information every day. Thanks to the internet, blogs, influencers, TV and the movies, and even memes, it’s hard to decipher fact from fiction. Do we really get a chance to see what’s going on in the world? How do we start to discern what we can do to make a difference, what we could do to elicit change? So I’ve asked, Michelle Karshan to take the current headlines and break them down as simple as possible. To truly understand what the issues are, and how they truly affect our world.
In November the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a reversal of the Obama administration's elephant protections that prohibited safari hunters returning to the U.S. from bringing back trophies – namely body parts – of endangered elephants and lions they had killed in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
There was an immediate outcry by animal rights advocates and other organizations, as well as vocal celebrities. Photos circulated on social media of President Trump’s sons on a hunting safari in Zimbabwe. A photo of Donald Trump, Jr., posing with an elephant tail in one hand, and a knife in the other, further inflamed opposition to lifting the ban.
President Trump unexpectedly tweeted that he would delay decision on this matter until he reviewed all conservation facts and added later that trophy hunting is a “horror show.” Trump also questioned whether allowing elephant parts into the U.S. is an effective way to support conservation of elephants and other endangered animals despite claims by pro-hunting and safari organizations, and a 36-page report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Concerned that the decision to reverse the ban had already been published in the Federal Register, and alleging that the U.S. failed to conform with the Endangered Species Act in its analysis and decision making, special interest groups filed a lawsuit to force the administration to restore the Obama-era protections. In the meantime, the administration stated they would not issue any permits. Whether hunting is helpful or not to local African economies, a poll taken two weeks after Trump’s tweet, found that the majority of Americans are opposed to elephant and lion trophy hunting.