The HSUS Urges Feds to Prosecute Billionaire Trophy Hunter for Federal Wildlife Crimes
The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, called on federal prosecutors to fully investigate filing charges and prosecuting Dan Duncan, a Texas trophy hunter and canned hunt operator, for illegally shooting wild animals from a helicopter.
(PressZoom) - The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, called on federal prosecutors to fully investigate filing charges and prosecuting Dan Duncan, a Texas trophy hunter and canned hunt operator, for illegally shooting wild animals from a helicopter.
According to news reports, Duncan killed a moose and a sheep from a helicopter in Russia and transported the animals into the United States to be kept as trophies.Â Because aerial hunting is illegal in Russia, the importation of those trophies into the U.S. violates the federal Lacey Act.
On Wednesday, July 18, Duncan appeared before for a grand jury in Houston.Â The HSUS sent a letter requesting a full investigation and prosecution of this matter to the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Crimes Section.
"Killing wildlife illegally in foreign countries and bringing the heads and hides back to the U.S. is a serious violation of federal law," said Andrew Page, hunting campaign manager for The HSUS.Â "The Humane Society of the United States urges prosecution to the full extent of the law and we thank the Department of Justice for giving this case the attention it deserves."
The Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 3371-3378) prohibits trade in wildlife, fish and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold.Â Enacted in 1900, the Act was put in place to stamp out interstate trade of poached animals, but now the law is a powerful tool to stop U.S. citizens from committing crimes against wildlife abroad and trafficking their illegal activities, in the form of trophies or animals parts, back to the U.S.
In June 2006, David Smith, a senior official with the Department of the Interior, resigned after he violated "the appearance standard" and killed a buffalo at Duncan's ranch. A month before, Smiths' office designated Houston as an entry port for imports of exotic wildlife, a move that benefited Duncan.
Duncan owns the Double D ranch near Smithville, Texas and is a major contributor to Safari Club International (SCI) – a fraternal organization of wealthy trophy hunters.
Duncan has more than 400 entries in SCI's record book of trophy animals, including two polar bears, five African lions, five African leopards, three African elephants, a Southern white rhinoceros, a black rhinoceros, a hippopotamus, a crocodile, and several endangered species including a cheetah, barasingha, and multiple scimitar-horned oryx.
In a similar case from November 2006, well-known country singer Troy Gentry pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsely registering a captive bear as being killed in the wild.Â In 2004, the singer killed a roadside zoo bear, "Cubby," in a three-acre fenced enclosure from which the bear could not escape as part of a planned canned hunt.Â Under the deal, a felony charge for violating the Lacey Act was dropped, but the singer paid a $15,000 fine, forfeited hunting and trapping privileges in Minnesota for five years, and turned over the bear skin trophy.
On July 20, The HSUS sent a letter about this case to the Department of Justice:Â http://www.hsus.org/web-files/PDF/hunting/whitney_letter-on-duncan.pdf
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization – backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the web at humanesociety.org
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