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Leading animal protection and conservation groups send a letter urging U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reject any import request for Trump Jr.’s argali sheep trophy

WASHINGTON (December 19, 2019)—Today conservation and animal protection organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking them to deny the import permit for the horns, skin or other parts of a trophy-hunted argali sheep killed by Donald Trump Jr. in Mongolia.

The letter details why the U.S. Endangered Species Act, under which argali are protected, cannot be used to authorize the import. Argali are threatened by overhunting, and now climate change and habitat loss are also threats to the species. The August kill was reportedly made without the required Mongolian hunting permit. Only after Trump Jr. left Mongolia—on Sept. 2, 2019—was a permit issued.

Today’s letter states that “issuing an import permit or other authorization to Donald Trump Jr., a well-known public figure, could set a precedent that both increases other trophy hunters’ desire for argali trophies and establishes that ‘after-the-fact’ permitting of trophy hunts is acceptable.”

“Letting Trump Jr.’s sheep trophy into the U.S. would signal that wealthy Westerners can sneer at laws aimed at protecting rare animals from extinction,” said Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If we’re going to halt the extinction crisis, we can’t let trophy hunters pay to ignore the Endangered Species Act and kill imperiled species for fun.”

“Although President Trump has called trophy hunting a ‘horror show,’ Donald Trump Jr. continues to gallivant around the world to kill imperiled species while claiming to support wildlife conservation,” said Anna Frostic, senior vice president representing Humane Society International, the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “The legality of his latest hunt in Mongolia is questionable and it would be unlawful for USFWS to authorize the import of this trophy.”

Questions remain over whether the issuance of a permit after a hunt comports with Mongolian law. Argali are the world’s largest sheep. Their beautiful, curling horns - which reach up to six feet in length—are coveted by trophy hunters. Between 2007 and 2018, U.S. trophy hunters imported 65 argali trophies from Mongolia.

The letter was sent by the Center for Biological Diversity, Humane Society International, the Humane Society of the United States, and Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Media contacts:
Rodi Rosensweig, the Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society Legislative Fund, 203-270-8929, rrosensweig@humanesociety.org
Nancy Hwa, Humane Society International, 202-676-2337 (direct), 202-596-0808 (cell), nhwa@hsi.org
Tanya Sanerib, Center for Biological Diversity, (206) 379-7363 (cell), tsanerib@biologicaldiversity.org

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The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at hslf.org, on our blog at animalsandpolitics.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/humanelegislation and on Twitter at twitter.com/HSLegFund.

Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at humanesociety.org.

Subscribe to Kitty Block’s blog, A Humane World. Follow the HSUS Media Relations department on Twitter. Read the award-winning All Animals magazine. Listen to the Humane Voices Podcast.

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at hsi.org.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.