Curbing the Federal Fur Export Program
Through an international endangered species trade treaty, the federal government is facilitating the mass export of furs and other animal parts to other countries where fur coats and the like are still socially acceptable. In doing so, the feds have skirted environmental review and public input for the program.
The U.S. is a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), the international treaty that outlawed the unregulated ivory trade. Under CITES, the Service regulates the export of pelts and other animal parts from wolves, bobcats, and other “furbearers’’ from the U.S. This is achieved through a permit and tagging system in conjunction with states and individual trappers. These pelts and parts are used in places like Russia and China for products such as fur coats, which can require 50 bobcat pelts each. In 2014 alone, the Service issued “CITES export tags” allowing the export of 59,000 bobcat pelts from the U.S. Recently, the Service also gave the state of Montana permission to tag gray wolf pelts for export.
So we filed suit, demanding that the Service publicly evaluate the effects of its export program on native wildlife, including the enormous “bycatch” of other, non-target animals typically caught in traps and snares. The Service has now released an assessment of the program, but it is woefully deficient, so we will continue our suit to ensure the public can meaningfully understand the scope of the program, and to curb its excesses.
Take Action for Wildlife
Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulates the export of animal pelts. The Service has illegally failed to evaluate the export program, resulting in the trapping and killing of native and endangered species.