Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

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Stop Killing on Wildlife Refuges


Wildlife Watch Inc.
Helping People, Environment, and Wildlife
PO BOX 562, NEW PALTZ, NY 12561
Voice:(845) 256-1400; Fax:(845) 622-7999
e-mail: wildwatch@earthlink.net
Contact: Joe Miele, Vice President 201-368-8271

Chief
Division of Conservation Planning and Policy
National Wildlife Refuge System
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive
Room 670
Arlington, VA 22203

September 11, 2003

Dear Sir or Madam:

Wildlife Watch, Inc. is an animal protection organization that educates the public about the mismanagement of wildlife by state and federal wildlife agencies, and the destruction of wildlife and ecosystems in the name of sport hunting and game management.  We have approximately 65,000 supporters throughout the country.  On their behalf, we strongly oppose any efforts that would increase, expand, or authorize any new hunting, fishing, trapping, or other consumptive uses of wildlife within any of the Refuges of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS).

To call these areas Refuges is a misnomer.  Originally conceived by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 to protect wildlife from those who would harm them, the NWRS has failed to live up to its original mission.  The proposal by the Fish and Wildlife Service to open hunting and/or fishing opportunities for the first time on seven refuges and to expand those opportunities on three other refuges is nothing short of a betrayal of the spirit in which the Refuges were established, and a proposal that will result in the degradation of these nearly undeveloped lands.

According to a 1989 General Accounting Office report to Congress, Refuge managers at seventy-seven of the 163 units that then allowed hunting identified “waterfowl hunting,” “small game hunting,” or “hunting dog field trials” as “harmful uses” of their Refuge units and should be “discontinued” immediately.  The general public supports the opinion of most Refuge managers, as indicated by an opinion poll conducted by Decision Research in 1999.  When the results of the poll were tallied it was found that 78% of Americans oppose hunting and trapping on National Wildlife Refuges.

Given that Refuges are funded through tax dollars paid by the public, the great majority of whom do not kill animals for sport, it is outrageous that the lands and animals living within the NWRS are exploited to serve a tiny minority who wishes them harm.  Far more revenue is generated by non-consumptive users of Wildlife refuges, than by hunters and trappers.

Because we believe the expansion and/or continuation of consumptive uses of wildlife within the NWRS to be a crime against our humanity and the natural world, we vehemently oppose any effort made by the USFWS to expand hunting within the NWRS.

Your reply will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Joe Miele

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