Have you imported hunting trophies into the United States? If so, you should contact the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to prevent them from releasing your personal information to an anti-hunting group.
Earlier this month, FWS published an official notice in the Federal Register that announced that they may disclose information related to records for the import and export of all wildlife specimens (including hunting trophies) in and out the United States to Humane Society International (HSI) based on a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests the group made. This information pertains to all imports and exports of wildlife between 2002 and 2010 as well as 2013 and 2014.
For instance, information regarding a hunter who imported a moose hunted in Canada would potentially be subject to this disclosure. The same goes for someone who imported animals hunted in Africa or anywhere else in the world. While the primary focus of this notice is on those who have imported animals into the United States, it also applies to people who have exported animals out of the the country.
At this time, it is not 100% clear exactly what information FWS will release to HSI regarding this matter. However, the worst-case scenario for hunters would be if FWS released the personal information (including addresses and contact information) of all hunters who have imported and/or exported hunting trophies, along with specific information regarding animals imported or exported. Obviously, this could make a number of law-abiding hunters targets for anti-hunter harassment.
Fortunately, if this notice applies to you, you can object to disclosure. If you do not file a formal response objecting to the disclosure of your information, FWS will assume you do not object and may release your information to HSI.
If you want to object to the disclosure of your information, you must send a written response to FWS no later than 22 November 2016. Below are the three ways you may send your objection to FWS.
- Email: [email protected]
- Fax: (703) 358-2271
- By mail:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Office of Law Enforcement (FOIA)
5275 Leesburg Pike (MS: OLE)
Falls Church, VA 22041
FWS also requires that you reference the following in your response: Humane Society International v. U.S. FWS, No. 16-720, Reference No. 7202.4-OS-2-16-00042. You should also provide your contact information.
Additionally, the good folks at Safari Club International have provided some sample responses objecting to the disclosure of their information for hunters to send to FWS. While they are not offering legal advice and there is no guarantee that their sample responses will be successful in convincing FWS not to disclose your information, the SCI sample responses are certainly worth checking out here.
Please share this PSA regarding the potential release of information regarding the import and export of hunting trophies to an anti-hunting organization with anyone you know who might be impacted by it.
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