New York Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal (D-Upper West Side) has introduced Assembly Bill 7556, which would make the importation or possession of Africa’s Big 5 trophies a Class E Felony. Africa’s Big 5 species include African elephants, lions, leopards, rhinoceros and cape buffalo. Enactment of AB 7556 would punish those importing a legally hunted African species the same as those who commit child abuse, rape, aggravated assault and arson.
AB 7556 has been referred to the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee where it awaits a hearing.
Take Action Today! New York sportsmen should contact their state assembly member and ask them to vote NO on Assembly Bill 7556. Members can contact their assembly member by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center.
Hunting for big game in Africa is tightly regulated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which only issues import permits for hunts that occur in countries that maintain sound conservation plans. A hunter who wishes to pursue a species of the Big 5 must secure proper permits from both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the range country where he or she would hunt.
AB 7556 is the latest of radical anti-hunting legislation that would treat hunters as felons. Similar legislation has been introduced in Connecticut, and a Nevada coyote contest bill also would have treated coyote hunters as felons.
“The recent trend of treating lawful and legitimate hunting as a felony is highly alarming,” said Bruce Tague, Sportsmen’s Alliance vice president of government affairs. “The country is struggling with significant issues like opioid addiction, homelessness, healthcare and human trafficking, but the state of New York instead prefers to target legitimate hunters for prison time.”
If AB 7556 became law, New York would be the third states to ban the import of Big Five trophies, following New Jersey and Washington. Ironically as each state follows this path, money that would normally have been spent in these countries, which would help maintain healthy populations of wildlife and prevent poaching, would be diminished.
According to a recent report by Southwick and Associates, a leading economist for wildlife agencies, hunting tourism contributes $426 million to the African GDP, accounted for $326 million in direct spending and supports over 53,000 jobs in the top-eight hunting destination countries annually. Hunting tourism helps incentivize local communities to not turn to illegal poaching and helps these communities see these animals as a resource that should not be illegally exploited.
“Instead of classifying big game hunters as felons, they should be thanked for their contribution to conservation and their role in maintaining some of the world’s most iconic species,” said Tague.
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.