U.S. Holds Hearing On Polar Bear Import Bill

HSUS, Others Offer Opposition Testimony before Committee

U.S. Sportsmen, Bear Hunting Magazine

The anti's came out in force to oppose legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would allow a limited importation of existing polar bear trophies.

On Tuesday, September 22, 2009 the U.S. House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife held a hearing on HR 1054. The legislation, introduced by U.S. Representative Don Young (R- AK), is intended to eliminate legal confusion surrounding existing polar bear trophies and permits created after they were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The bill allows those trophies that were collected prior to the ESA designation to be imported into the United States.

Leading the charge in opposition was Mark Markarian, the chief operating officer of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Markarians testimony refers yet again to the argument that polar bears should be listed as threatened under the ESA due to predictions of arctic ice loss over the next 50 to 100 years. Also testifying in opposition was an attorney representing the International Fund for the Welfare of Animals, Defenders of Wildlife, and HSUS.

The U.S. Sportsmens Alliance (USSA) supports HR 1054 and has long opposed the ESA listing of polar bears for two reasons. First, and foremost, this is an abuse of the ESA as many populations of polar bears are actually thriving and increasing. Also the listing is being based on future forecasting of wildlife populations as opposed to the currently available numbers.

"The USSA has consistently maintained that the ESA listing does not offer a solution to worries over arctic ice and is being misused in this case," said Bud Pidgeon, USSA president and CEO. "Sportsmen should not be placed in the political crossfire of the global warming debate; yet that is exactly what has happened and what groups like the HSUS want to perpetuate by opposing legislation like HR 1054."

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