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Eustace Statement on Trump Administration Reversal of Ban on Imports of Elephant Trophies from Africa

Change Rolls Back Obama-Era Policy Aimed at Protecting Wildlife

Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Chair Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic) issued the following statement Friday in response to the Trump administration’s announcement that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow the import of sport-hunted African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. The policy change reverses a ban on such imports established during the Obama administration:

“Trophy hunting is pure cruelty in and of itself, but when one considers the vulnerability of the African elephant population in particular, the Trump administration’s action makes its disregard for animal welfare clear.

“Furthermore, given the current state of unrest in Zimbabwe, this is a precarious time to encourage American citizens to spend large sums of money to go hunt in a country notoriously plagued by corruption. That the Trump administration chose to make this major change in the midst of a military coup in Zimbabwe suggests that it believes the adventures of Eric and Donald Jr. are worth the danger animals and hunters alike may face in a country that now is likely unable to enforce laws. Our nation’s relationships around the globe and the well-being of American citizens simply cannot hinge on the will of the president’s trophy-hunting sons.”

Eustace, who was the lead Assembly sponsor of a measure (A-2510, signed by the governor in June 2016) to ban the transport of game trophies of threatened or endangered species through airports and facilities controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, plans to introduce legislation urging Trump to restore the nation’s elephant trophy import ban.