Safari Club International….

The Safari Club International is one of the defendants in the 10j litigation. This excellent article was written by the Humane Society of the United States in 2003. It’s an eye-opening, shocking look at SCI, the largest  trophy hunting organization in the world.

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A View To A Kill

How Safari Club Int’l Works To Weaken ESA Protections

By Michael Satchell
The Humane Society of the United States
11-25-03

What weighs 21 pounds, contains 2,560 pages, and lists thousands of names and numbers? It’s not the New York City telephone directory, but here’s a hint: Its listings run from Addax to Zebra.
 
The answer is Safari Club International’s three-volume compendium of trophy hunters who are immortalized in this record book for doing nothing more than killing animalsóan entire alphabet of animalsóto win SCI awards competitions. The catalog is a macabre scorecard detailing who shot what animal, where and when. Thousands and thousands of animals, covering more than 1,100 species, are figuratively buried between the covers here.
 
You can learn, for example, that in 1910 in the Sudan, Theodore Roosevelt killed a rhino whose horns measured 24 4/8 inches and 7 4/8 inches, scoring 67 1/8 points to make the former U.S. president the No.1 hunter of Northern white rhino. Or that one Marc Pechenart shot an elephant in the Central African Republic in June 1970, earning a score of 302 points for the biggest pachyderm. The animal’s left tusk weighed 154 pounds and the right 148 pounds.
 
With its photographs of grinning hunters posing with lifeless animals and its meticulous rankings for the biggest tusks, horns, antlers, skulls and bodies, the SCI record book perfectly encapsulates what trophy hunting is all about: killing for killing’s sake. The book lays bare the hunters’ obsessions: a craving to shoot the largest animal, a desire to kill the most animals and rack up SCI awards, or a fetish to bring home the animal’s head and hang it on the wall.
 
The mother of all these obsessions, though, is the awards competition. SCI members shoot prescribed lists of animals to win so-called Grand Slam and Inner Circle titles. Thereís the Africa Big Five, (leopard, elephant, lion, rhino, and buffalo); the North American Twenty Nine (all species of bear, bison, sheep, moose, caribou, and deer); and the Antlered Game of the Americas, among many other contests.
 
To complete all 29 award categories, a hunter must kill a minimum of 322 separate species and sub-speciesóenough to populate an entire zoo. This is an extremely expensive and lengthy task, and many SCI members take the quick and easy route. They shoot captive animals in canned hunts, both in the United States and overseas, and some engage in other unethical conduct like shooting animals over bait, from vehicles, with spotlights, or on the periphery of national parks.
 
Wayne Pacelle, HSUS senior vice president for communications and government affairs, captures the essence of SCI members and their motivation:
 
“It’s a perverse and destructive subculture,” he says. “Thousands of animals suffer and die for the amusement of wealthy elites who have the means to pursue any form of recreation, but choose to shoot the world’s rarest and most beautiful animals. There’s no societal value to the exercise, just a selfish all-consuming mentality of killing, collecting, and showing off trophies. They know the price of every animal, but the value of none.”
 
High-Powered Rifles
 
It’s easy to parody and criticize Safari Club International, but it’s a mistake to underestimate the club’s power and influence on shaping policies that are detrimental to wildlifeóand beneficial to those members who stand tall over freshly killed animals in the SCI record books.
 
Since it was founded in 1971, the Tucson-based non-profit has grown to some 40,000 trophy collectors. More than half boast an annual income of more than $100,000 (compared to 6% of hunters nationwide). The average member owns 11 rifles, six shotguns, five handguns and a bow. Two-thirds spend about one month hunting each year, and a quarter of the members more than 50 days.
 
The club contributes large sums to mostly Republican candidates and, not surprisingly, has been able to ingratiate itself with various administrations, most notably the Bush Administration, and with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). With the help of friendly members of Congress and officials in USFWS, SCI has consistently attempted to navigate around the intent of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and import once-banned trophies of endangered and threatened wildlife. Sometimes, the club has succeeded, sometimes not.
 
The latest example of SCI’s growing influence in Washington is the Bush Administration’s initiative to “save” the world’s endangered species by killing or selling them, and then using the revenues as an incentive for poor countries to improve their conservation efforts. This scheme to protect rare wildlife is a formula for disaster. It will reverse 30 years of ESA protections for hundreds of exotic creatures who are heading for, or teetering on, the brink of extinction.
 
The proposal, which conveniently dovetails with SCI’s agenda, offers several examples of how wildlife can be exploited for profit. It suggests imports, such as wild-caught Asian elephants for circuses and zoos, Morelet’s crocodile skins for luxury leather items like shoes and handbags, and Asian bonytongue tropical fish to supply the aquarium trade. American trophy hunters could shoot and import trophies of straight-horned markhor, a rare goat found in Pakistan, and then head north on a quickie expedition to nail Canadian wood bison.
 
These are only examples. If approved, the proposal portends open season on many disappearing species, particularly large mammals, the so-called charismatic megafauna. It would also be a huge incentive for poaching and smuggling. Imagine how much rich trophy hunters would offer China to shoot giant pandasóarguably the world’s most beloved animalóif they were allowed to import their stuffed remains. Picture furriers importing the hides of endangered snow leopards to swathe the ethically challenged. And now that pet tigers have earned a bad rap, might cheetahs become the newest rage among exotic pet owners?
 
For three decades and under strict controls, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed only a few rare animals, such as pandas, to be brought in for scientific research and breeding. Until SCI began to push its agenda in Congress and at the Interior Department, USFWS very rarely approved the importation of endangered-species trophies. Now, the agency is proposing not only to ease those trophy import restrictions but also to allow the import of live animals for entertainment (or the pet trade) and the import of skins and hides for luxury apparel.
 
Such a plan goes against USFWS’s historic rationale, which quite correctly notes that fostering a commercial market for disappearing wildlife will inevitably hasten its demise.
 
No Trickle-Down Economics
 
Encouraging the sale and import of heads, hides, and live animals to enhance survival efforts in the wild may sound logicalóuntil you examine the sorry history of other purported “sustainable” wildlife-use programs. The record shows that few of the dollars trickle down to benefit either wildlife or local people in the impoverished range states because corrupt officials inevitably divert the money.
 
During the 1990s, in a well-intentioned-but-misguided conservation effort, the U.S. government spent more than $12 million to underwrite sustainable wildlife-use programs in Zimbabwe. The idea was to give local people the opportunity to raise money for community projects by selling hunting permits for African elephants. The program ended up subsidizing trophy hunting, and little of their trophy fees reached the villages.
 
USFWS’s new endangered species proposal doesn’t offer much hope to alter this historical course. Despite agency assurances, the plan isn’t the product of careful scientific assessment or innovative thinking. It’s driven, in large part, by the working relationship between the Bush Administration and SCI, and by the administration’s apparent hostility toward the Endangered Species Act.
 
SCI’s membership includes former President George Herbert Walker Bush, who has lobbied the government of Botswana on the group’s behalf to lift the ban on killing the nation’s dwindling lion population. What’s more, President George W. Bush appointed Matthew J. Hogan, SCI’s former Government Affairs Manager, as one of the two current deputy directors of USFWSóa classic example of the fox guarding the hen house. Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton, in turn, has worked to weaken the ESA, from abandoning federal efforts to restore grizzlies in Idaho to undermining a key provision that allows citizens to sue the government to speed up protection of imperiled species.
 
Aiming High…Shooting Low
 
SCI got off to a shaky start during its early forays into Washington politics. In 1979, when the organization was not even a decade old, it sought government approval to circumvent the spirit of the law and import an astonishing 1,125 trophies of 40 animals on the endangered species list. They included gorillas, cheetahs, tigers, orangutans, and snow leopards.
 
With a straight face, SCI said its goal was “scientific researchÖincentive for propagationÖsurvival of the species.” There was one small problem. The trophies weren’t dead yet. The prospect of permitting the wholesale slaughter of more than 1,000 rare animals was a bit too much, even for USFWS, and the request was denied.
 
As its lobbying became more sophisticated, SCI began pouring money into national political campaigns. Since the 1998 election cycle, it has contributed $596,696 to Republican candidates and $92,500 to Democrats. Not coincidentally, Congressional Republicans have made repeated attempts to amend and weaken the ESA, while USFWS, turning its back on decades of precedents, has proposed to allow hunters to import trophies of endangered animals killed in the wild. These import easements are critical to one of SCI’s true aims.
 
All those pictures in the SCI record books, and in the club’s glossy magazines like Safari and Hunt Forever, are a form of pornography to the blood sports crowd. Would-be big-game hunters can pore over photos of triumphant and sated trophy collectors holding up the head of a dead ungulate by its horns or standing atop the hulk of a dead elephant or posing with a dead leopard draped around his neck. But like all pornography, the image is never enough. The hunter eventually wants a taste of the real thing. And, of course, he must have a trophy to savor the experience.
 
As former SCI president John J. Jackson III once wrote: “A trophy of any species attests that its owner has been somewhere and done something, that he has exercised skilled persistence and discrimination in the agile feat of overcoming, outwitting, and reducing game to possession.”
 
Trophy collectors may rhapsodize about their spiritual love for the quarry, the hunter’s path to self-actualization, the thrill of the chase, the test of manhood, and other such philosophical jabberwocky. But at the end of the day, and after a $65,000 safari, the only thing that matters is hanging that head on the wallóand the rarer the animal, the better it feels.
 
An example: Kenneth E. Behring, who donated $100 million to have the Smithsonian memorialize him with the Behring Family Hall of Mammals on the Washington D.C. Mall, went to Kazakhstan in 1997 and paid the government enough to allow him to shoot a Kara Tau argali sheep.
 
The animal, even SCI acknowledges, is critically endangered; the species is listed on CITES Appendix I and can not be imported into the United States as a trophy without the help of a museum. Behring, who like all SCI members, regards himself as a conservationist, killed his Kara Tau argali when only 100 remained and shipped it to a Canadian taxidermist. The Smithsonian then petitioned USFWS for an import permit, but withdrew the request in the storm of negative publicity that followed.
 
But Behring isn’t the only SCI member with questionable ethics. Back when Teddy Roosevelt was laying waste to Africa’s wildlife, hunting may have embraced those mythic elements that SCI still loves to invoke: a Hemingway-esque mantra of danger, romance, bravery, and the thrill of slaying the beast.
 
On today’s safari, however, the customer is coddled in luxury tent camps, replete with flush toilets, hot showers and gourmet dining. All he (or she) has to do is shell out tens of thousands of dollars, pull the trigger when instructed, and pose for the money shot. He doesn’t even get blood on his hands. A professional guide stalks the target, lines up the shot, tells the client when to take it, acts as a backup shooter if the animal is wounded, and supervises the gutting, skinning and decapitation.
 
And that’s in the wild. From South Africa to New Zealand to Texas, many of these trophy collectors shoot captive animals in canned hunts staged in fenced paddocks on game ranches, a practice the Boone and Crockett Club calls “unfair and unsportsmanlike.” The animals are habituated to humans and are shot at feeding stations, salt licks and watering holes. The “spirit of fair chase,” supposedly enshrined in SCI’s code of ethics, is conveniently ignored.
 
SCI’s highly flexible “fair chase” code also urges members to “comply with all game laws and demonstrate abiding respect for game, habitat and property.” That admonition regularly falls on deaf ears.
 
In 1998, several top SCI leaders, including Behring and then-president Alfred Donau, reportedly went on a wildlife killing spree in Mozambique. According to a published report, they left animals wounded and dying and shot elephants in alleged violation of national law. Other SCI members have been convicted of killing endangered species and trying to smuggle them into the U.S.
 
Wealthy hunters, including SCI members, have also been caught in federal tax scams. In one celebrated case, a museum in Raleigh, North Carolina, gave trophy hunters the title of “associate curator,” which helped them persuade foreign officials to grant permits to shoot rare animals. Hunters went on to donate low-value trophies to the museum and receive wildly inflated appraisals, which were then deducted from their federal taxes. In some cases, the mounts were reacquired by the donors. Before authorities busted the ring, the museum took in 1,800 specimens and valued them at a whopping $8.4 million. At SCI’s 1999 annual convention, members were offered a document titled Secrets of Tax Deductible Hunting, advising them to declare their home trophy rooms as museums, call themselves curators, and “donate your record-book animal for the mouthwatering tax deduction.”
 
Incidents like these fuel the club’s negative image. Most Americans are largely ambivalent about hunting wild animals for food, but polls show strong public opposition to killing exotic animals for fun, competition, and bragging rights. To counter this perception and burnish its reputation, the club donates meat to food banks, stages “sensory safaris” where the vision-impaired can touch and feel stuffed animals, and arranges hunting for the disabled.
 
To Matthew Scully, author of the highly acclaimed book Dominion, such window dressing is humbug. “They practice a socially conscious sadism here,” Scully writes. “Ethics at the Safari Club is ordered libertinism, like teaching cannibals to use a table napkin and not take the last portion.”


 Michael Satchell is a senior consultant for The HSUS.

http://www.rense.com/general45/view.htm 

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Posted in: Trophy hunting

Tags: Safari Club International, evils of trophy hunting, ESA under fire

 

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Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 2:50 am  Comments (23)  
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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is truly what worries me about the ESA. There is so much money thrown around and for the SCI just boggles the mind. Then you throw in the NRA and we are really up against it. Does anyone have any connections at Boone & Crockett? I have heard before they are against the Safari Crowd. What this actually means and if they really are against it enough to take a stand I don’t know. This actually makes me physically sick.

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    • I could barely read this SCWG. The money and power behind this push to dismantle the ESA is staggering. It’s like an iceburg, you only see what’s floating on the top but the bottom is enormous. It’s now beyond wolves but threatening all animals protected by the ESA. Who will be the next inconvenient animal, the grizzly bear?

      N.

      Like

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alexander & Douglas, Cathleen Mackay. Cathleen Mackay said: Safari Club International…. « Howling For Justice: From South Africa to New Zealand to Texas, many of these trop… http://bit.ly/fonQ79 […]

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  3. It’s amazing wealthy throphy hunters are actually allowed to go and shoot endangered animals in Africa. The only ones that should be allowed to hunt there are the native tribes living there, not rich hunters. It maddens me how they put themselves as brave and powerful for killing a lion or elephant. What’s brave about sitting on a safari car aiming at a lion or elephant with your beautiful high-powered rifle, shooting the animal, retrieving the carcass and hanging it on your wall?
    I will see them as cowards until one of them decides to go and kill a lion with their own pair of hands, and zero weapons. THAT is bravery, my friend.

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    • Loua…The most disgusting are the canned hunts of tame lions. These animals don’t have a chance. That is the worst of the worst. And they call themselves hunters. It’s just slaughter.

      N.

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  4. “SCI is a leader in hunter education and wildlife conservation, preserving wildlife for the next generation of hunters.”
    There you have it: ‘Save’em so we can kill’em!”

    C.J. McElroy, the founder and former head of Safari Club International, killed 335 animals – among them are Bengal tigers and polar bears.

    There is a museum in Tuscon Arizona “The International Wildlife Museum” that holds this scumbag’s collection (SCI HQ is also in Tuscon Arizona – coincidence?), as well as the 600 animals killed by Theodore Roosevelt. For all the museum’s babble about conservation of wildlife, it’s grisly collection is comprised of animals killed by sport hunters. A trophy room in disguise.

    A note about Theodore, during the original American War on Wolves, Teddy knew of the grey wolf’s dire predicament but the so-called ‘great conservationist’ did absolutely nothing to halt the extermination programs. During his own bloody legacy, he had shot a number of wolves himself.

    Like

    • I have no idea what drives this desire to kill animals for the thrill kill. I guess insecruity? And why are these people always smiling over dead wildlife? What the hell is that about? Is this what makes them happy? Scary, scary.

      N.

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      • They can make up whatever excuse they please. All hunting and trapping amount to these days is legalised animal cruelty.

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      • Absolutely one hundred percent agree with you John.

        N.

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    • McElroy got the idea to build this macabre museum when he ran out of room in his house to store his trophys. He could not add any more rooms and he was not finished killing. (I was there several times) Some of his trophies did not make it to the museum such as his coffee table sitting on elephant feet. Their first attempt to skim money from the “bleeding hearts” was to form a non-profit which they named the World Wildlife Foundation using a globe as a logo (see real logo for WWF). Fortunately WWF sued them and eventually they had to call themselves what they are – the SCI Foundation. It makes me physically ill every time I have to drive past that building.

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      • That is truly sickening Kathy. I can bet SCI is right in the middle of this, I’m sure they would like nothing better then to see the ESA dismantled. What is wrong with people that feel the need to kill animals for sport? I’ll have to check the psych manuals for the some help figuring it out. Are we de-evolving?

        N.

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  5. Nabeki’s article sums it up well. When SCI is involved it usually turns out bad for animals. I recommend the Scully book Dominion, but be prepared- it is depressing. I have spent years confronting this group. Another helpful link

    http://www.endangeredspecieshandbook.org/persecution_illegalities.php

    Like

    • Dominion is very depressing, so is Vicious. But they are must reads. People can’t hide their heads in the sand. We have to face this and knowledge is power.

      N.

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  6. the rest of that link is illegalities.php

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    • Thanks william.

      N.

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  7. I think the Safari Club International is one of the most dangerous organizations on the face of the earth and needs to be watched closely. I attended a wolf meeting in Kalispell, MT in October sponsored by US Rep. Denny Rehberg and a SCI person was on the panel. I think the only reason the Safari Club was invited was that Hitler himself was not available.

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    • Actually, Adolf Hitler banned the hunting of animals and was a vegetarian. His psychotic beef was with people.

      It was Hermann Goring that was the animal killer. The Commander-in-chief of the German Air Force prohibited hunting in the Białowieża Puszcza (a primeval forest on the border of Poland and Belarus)… with the exception of himself. He planned to turn the forest into a hunting reserve.

      Nevertheless, both were bad grapes from the same vine.

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      • John….Don’t you find it a conundrum that the most lethal man in history was an animal lover but was responsible for the deaths of millions upon millions of people? I will never understand it.

        N.

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      • Nabeki,

        Not really, at his core, Adolf Hitler was just another insane manipulative dictator. He allowed the poisoning of his own dog, to test the cyanide pills he had been provided, before his own suicide. Several other innocents were forced to die that day in that bunker with him. I won’t go through the details as it is incredibly upsetting.

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    • Forevery Wild….I believe their aim has always been to dismantle the ESA and now they think they have their best chance. We can’t let that happen. Every wolf advocate has to fight this battle to stop them from gutting this landmark legislation. No endangered animal would ever be safe again.

      N.

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      • I posted a link to this site on my Facebook page. My FB friends are mostly active conservationists of one sort or another. Perhaps the rest of you could do the same to spread the word. The ESA is under attack from ranchers, hunters, miners and developers. We must show some voting strength. Lobby money can only bring success if it can buy enough votes.

        Like

  8. Just want to make a few things clear. It is a myth that Hitler was a vegetarian and Herman Goering was a sick puppy. He was a hunter, but also loved animals apparently. Check out this video. He had a pet lion.

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  9. SCI frequently has its annual convention in Reno, NV. Interested people should attend these conventions to really get an understanding of who these people are and what resides in their minds.

    A lifelong animal lover and adult rescuer, I was dumbfounded after reading Scully’s book. The chapter on SCI will make you sick. I couldn’t decide which was worse, that chapter or the one about the horrific life factory farmed hogs endure on farms run by Smithfield. Actually, there is something very sinister and dark that resides in a human being that actually finds enjoyment in killing for the thrill of it and to have your name included in a costly printed text that exists for no other reason than to express unbridled ego. That’s all trophy hunting is and anyone who attempts to deceptively cloak it in conservation is a bald-faced liar.

    I am very disturbed and concerned about the direction in which our country is heading. The rich and powerful are trying to convince the populace that we can’t afford to maintain the kind of conservation efforts that have protected and preserved countless species of animals, plants and other fauna. If groups like SCI get their way, every country’s government will be able to be “bought” for a price and their living resources raped, pillaged and plundered to oblivion.

    Wayne Pacelle and Matthew Scully are superbly articulate and powerful voices for animals and we need more people like them to counter and drive back
    these “cultured cannibals”.

    This is a great discussion that I stumbled upon by accident.

    Thank you!

    Like


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