The hunting lobby at work
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1996:
British Field Sports Society deputy chair Lord
Mancroft and the Duchess of Devonshire in early March
asked the reputed 80,000 BFSS members to join the 28,000-
member Royal SPCA so as to influence policy away from
opposition to fox hunting and other blood sports. The RSPCA
has formally opposed hunting since 1976. New members had
to join the RSPCA by March 22 to be eligible to vote at the
organization’s June annual meeting––and as many as 1,500
hunters reportedly did, as RSPCA board members and staff
scrambled to find a way to legally bar them.
“The biennial conference of the parties to the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
is due to be held in Zimbabwe in 1997,” reminds Shirley
McGreal of the International Primate Protection League.
“Problems are developing, as the government of Zimbabwe
wants to hold the meeting in Victoria Falls. Hotel rooms for
government officials are available in the town, which has a
total of 900 beds, but usually 1,500 or more people attend
CITES conferences. Because of the room shortage, representatives
of non-governmental organizations would be lodged far
away, in Zambia and Botswana, out of the action.” This
would give Zimbabwe more opportunity to lobby officials in
favor of abolishing the international ban on ivory trafficking.
“The U.S. government should be concerned at the problems
non-governmental organizations will face,” charged McGreal,
“but will not be. I heard some of the Fish and Wildlife types,”
she added, “may be keen to go to Zimbabwe, in part to blast
away at animals afterward, as some reportedly did” after a
previous CITES conference in Botswana.
Among the 25 U.S. public charities––as opposed
to private foundations––that contribute the most grant
funding to other charities are the National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation, giving $24 million in 1994; Ducks Unlimited,
giving $20 million; and the World Wildlife Fund, giving
$14.8 million. All three support hunting.