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Hunting for Fun on National Refuges is Just Fine, Says USFWS

Hunting and fishing will be allowed on 13 refuges where animals should feel safe

Killing animals for fun where they should be safe is just fine according to the USFWS

Today, on World Animal Day, we learn “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced the agency will expand fishing and hunting opportunities on 13 refuges throughout the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System. The final rule also modifies existing refuge-specific regulations on more than 70 other refuges and wetland management districts. This includes migratory bird, upland game and big game hunting, and sport fishing.” You can read all the gory details here.

Director Ashe, who will become the next president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, notes, not surprisingly, “Sportsmen and sportswomen were among the first to champion wildlife protection. Their efforts are the backbone of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model — fish and wildlife belong to all Americans, and they need to be managed in a way that will sustain their populations forever ... We are pleased to offer new opportunities for the continuance of a hunting and fishing tradition that is in accordance with sustainable recreational use in the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

We also are told, “The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.”

The USFWS redefines "refuge" "in the name of conservation"

All of the definitions of the word “refuge” I can find focus in on how a refuge is a place, a sanctuary, where individuals can seek safety and be protected from harm. The USFWS’s redefinition of the word “refuge” is a heinous move, the result of which numerous animals will be killed for fun “in the name of conservation.” Shame on them.

For more positive news on World Animal Day please see “World Animal Day 2016: Let's Celebrate Animals Every Day.” In addition, Matthieu Ricard’s wonderful new book A Plea for the Animals: The Moral, Philosophical, and Evolutionary Imperative to Treat All Beings with Compassion was officially released today. For an interview with Matthieu Ricard please see “Matthieu Ricard's "A Plea for the Animals" Is a Must Read.”

Other animals need all the help they can get, and clearly they cannot depend on the USFWS to work on their behalf.

Marc Bekoff’s latest books are Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears (with Jill Robinson), Ignoring Nature No More: The Case for Compassionate Conservation, Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed: The Fascinating Science of Animal Intelligence, Emotions, Friendship, and Conservation, Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence, and The Jane Effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall (edited with Dale Peterson). The Animals’ Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age (with Jessica Pierce) will be published in early 2017.