On Nov. 22, the Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation filed comments with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in opposition to the release of private information from hunters related to the importation or exportation of trophies. Humane Society International (HSI), the international arm of the Humane Society of the United States filed a Freedom of Information Act request with FWS for the information about individual hunters going back more than a decade.
Fortunately, FWS decided to take public comment before releasing the information to HSI. The Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, along with many others in the hunting community, objects to the release of the information on several grounds.
“Hunters have not had enough time to provide comments before the information is scheduled to be released,” said Brian Lynn, Sportsmen’s Alliance vice president of marketing and communications. “The comment period should be extended to allow more hunters, especially those whose names and addresses will be released to extremists, to be informed about this decision, and to have time to submit comments before any personal information is released. Moreover, this whole exercise misses the point that much of the data that HSI is fishing for is exempt under FOIA laws, and should not be released to anyone.”
The Freedom of Information Act clearly exempts information from disclosure if it will result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Given the recent explosion of social media targeting of hunters by animal-rights extremists, there can be no doubt that the release of personal information about Americans who import trophies will result in harassment if not in actual danger.
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.