Conservation Force Contesting Trophy Seizures & Forfeitures

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by AFRICAN INDABA, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. AFRICAN INDABA

    AFRICAN INDABA CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    Conservation Force Contesting Trophy Seizures & Forfeitures
    John Jackson III

    Conservation Force is contesting trophy seizures and forfeitures in Federal District Courts from San Francisco and Los Angeles to New York. The first claims we filed were over four different leopard seizures in San Francisco that have evolved into three different federal court cases.

    As we feared, the government has taken the legal position in San Francisco that any irregularity, including clerical errors, on permits or loss by third parties such as airlines renders that trophy contraband, which is illegal to possess or release. The government’s position in the San Francisco case, set for hearing on 30 September, is that CAFRA does not apply at all to trophies of listed species because it excludes contraband, and the trophies are contraband. If true, the “innocent owner defense” and “proportionality/excessive penalty” tests will not be available to hunters. It will take an Act of Congress to correct the injustice and the sooner the better. At worst, the cases across the country will demonstrate and showcase the problem. Until now, millions of dollars of trophies have been quietly forfeited while hunters have been misled to believe they were afforded protection of their interests by CAFRA and administrative remission proceedings. On the other hand, we hope to establish that clerical errors don’t render trophies contraband like drugs and criminally obtained goods.

    The negative attitude of the Agency we had gleaned has surfaced in the litigation. For example, the government is arguing that the purpose of the quota resolution adopted for leopard by CITES was intended to strictly limit trade, while we, on the other hand, view the adoption of quotas as a CITES attempt to facilitate trade and dispense with the need for the exporting and importing countries to make any further non-detriment finding. The quota resolutions actually state that those particular leopard populations are not in danger, that the hunting benefits them, and that importing authorities should permit the trade. Of course, leopards were not listed due to trophy trade in the first place, but it is the twisted view of those enforcing CITES in the field that we are contending with that trophy trade is disfavored. Moreover, the leopard in issue had both import and export permits demonstrating the trade was not detrimental and that it also enhanced the survival of the species. In other words, it was duplicatively approved trade.

    We also have a growing number of cases where trophies have been seized for forfeiture because they were considered by the USF&WS Inspector upon entry to be crafted. That has ranged from elephant leg bones (not just ivory) that have been scrimshawed to tusks that have bases with a metal cap for support. How the Service can unilaterally change the listing of a species by declaring it not to be a trophy is beyond my imagination. It is now up to two or more New York Federal District Court Judges to decide in separate cases.


    Source: Conservation Bulletin – The Hunting Report
  2. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    ...Again the U.S. government & it's agencies are running their own agenda's against HUNTERS! I would think with all the problems in our economy they would and could - keep their noses out of game animals taken lawfully by law abiding hunters and leave it at that! It's totally wrong for them to compenscate all these trophies from the hard working people and basically stealing their money!
    .... It irritates me to no end that they can't accept the CITES rules of the world. They always think they know more than everyone else! It's about time the high courts of America rule against these agencies & puts them in their place! Some how or some way these people have to be replaced & people put in these agencies who aren't out there to run their own agenda's!

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