US Sportsmen's Alliance Fighting for Hunters Rights
The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation has filed to represent sportsmen in yet another lawsuit brought by animal activists seeking to eliminate hunting, fishing and trapping wherever endangered or threatened species exist. The Maine based case mirrors another case from the state that was settled last October, with the plaintiff groups sharing key personnel with the plaintiff from that case. In both, the plaintiffs attempted to stop trapping altogether in Maine due to the incidental taking of the federally protected Canada lynx.
On October 10, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation (USSAF) asked a U.S. District Judge for permission to join a federal lawsuit brought by two anti hunting groups, the Wildlife Alliance of Maine and the Animal Welfare Institute against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. This lawsuit comes on the heels of a similar case brought previously by a third anti hunting group, the Animal Protection Institute (API), which also sought to stop trapping.
USSAF's Legal Defense Fund (U.S. SLDF), Fur Takers of America (FTA), the National Trappers' Association (NTA), the Maine Trappers' Association (MTA), Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, and several individual sportsmen joined together to fight the API suit. As a result of those efforts and that of the State, the case was settled under an agreement that restricts trap sizes in areas where Canada lynx exist rather than close down trapping altogether.
"Unfortunately, these groups are joined at the hip with API. They share key personnel and use the same expert witnesses," said Rob Sexton, USSAF vice president for government affairs. "You can't just keep re-filing the same case whenever you're unhappy with an outcome, especially after you agreed with the decision at the time. Yet that's what they're doing. The new case is nothing more than a second bite at the apple for them."
Both the API case and the new one deal with serious legal issues regarding the possible use of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to ban all hunting, trapping, and fishing whenever a possibility exists an animal falling under federal protection may incidentally be taken.
As Mr. Sexton indicates, "Once more the antis are striking at trapping, but like the API case, if they win here, the precedent will be set to attack all forms of hunting and fishing.
The USSAF has filed to join the case, along with the MTA, FTA, NTA, and individual sportsmen Dana Johnson, Sr., Donald Dudley, and Carl Guay.
The U.S. Sportsmen's Legal Defense Fund is the nation's only litigation force that exclusively represents sportsmen's interests in the courts. It defends wildlife management and sportsmen's rights in local, state and federal courts. The U.S. SLDF represents the interests of sportsmen and assists government lawyers who have little or no background in wildlife law.
The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen's organizations that protects and advances America's heritage of hunting, fishing and trapping.