Trophy Hunting: Controversial Again

“The principal conservation benefits of trophy hunting in Africa are the creation of economic incentives to conserve wildlife habitat and healthy wildlife populations. The potential of revenue generated by trophy hunting transforms wildlife and habitat into economic assets for individuals and communities.”  Catherine Semcer, in congressional testimony.

 

A “Cecil-the-lion” bill before Congress would make it almost impossible for Americans to go trophy hunting in Africa.  However, in congressional testimony on July 18, Catherine Semcer, a research fellow with the Property and Environment Research Center, explained why trophy hunting actually helps preserve lions and other endangered species:

“The principal conservation benefits of trophy hunting in Africa are the creation of economic incentives to conserve wildlife habitat and healthy wildlife populations. The potential of revenue generated by trophy hunting transforms wildlife and habitat into economic assets for individuals and communities and allows hunting to be competitive with other land-use options.“

Semcer was expressing a view that is shared by many wildlife managers. The animals Americans like to go see as tourists and most want to preserve are considered pests by local villagers. They kill the cattle and eat crops, so locals have no economic interest in their preservation. On the other hand, controlled hunting, with revenue sharing by the locals, makes these animals an income-producing resource, worth protecting against poachers and people who would poison them. See How Trophy Hunting Can Save Lions” and “The War on Wildlife Trade.” Two other witnesses at least partially supported Semcer’s view that trophy hunting is valuable for conservation.

The bill, proposed by Natural Resources Committee chairman Raúl Grijalva, would ban importation of lions and other large animals into the United States if they are being considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened or endangered. The name stems from the notorious death of a lion in Zimbabwe. Called “Cecil,” the lion had been studied for many years (and thus wore a collar). He was in a protected area but was lured by hunting guides to a place where he could legally be killed. The death of Cecil caused an international uproar (not all the immediate claims were accurate, it was later learned).

Craig Packer of the Lion Research Center at the University of Minnesota said he does not oppose hunting, but he said that trophy hunting is in “desperate need of reform.” And, he said, typical prices for trophy hunting are under $25,000, not enough to provide significant funds for conservation.

Patience Gandiwa, executive technical advisor for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, said that trophy hunting should be in the “toolbox.” (She also remarked that while the media touted Cecil, it was “just an ordinary adult lion” to local people, who do not give names to wild animals.)

Three other witnesses—Iris Ho of the Humane Society International, Elly Pepper of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Muchazondida Mkono from the University of Queensland—endorsed the bill. Mkono said that hunting policies are corrupt, that trophy hunting is a “rich boys’ club,” and benefits to communities are merely “token.”

John A. Baden

Founder of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE), located in Bozeman, Montana. Baden and his wife, Prof. Ramona Marotz-Baden, are skiers and cyclists.  They manage a productive ranch in the Gallatin Valley of Montana and enjoy active and happy lives.

 

John A. Baden is founder of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE), located in Bozeman, Montana. 

Baden’s Ph.D. in economic anthropology, Indiana University in 1969, was followed by an NSF post-doc in environmental economics and policy.  He was a leader in developing the New Resource Economics, focusing on the “romance” portion of environmental management, mainly parks, open lands, waters, and wildlife. He has produced ten books and many articles on energy and natural resources. 

Baden is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, served two terms on the  , and was president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education. He founded the Environmental Management M.B.A. program at the University of Washington.

Baden and his wife, Prof. Ramona Marotz-Baden, are skiers and cyclists.  They manage a productive ranch in the Gallatin Valley of Montana and enjoy active and happy lives.

H. Sterling Burnett

A senior fellow on environmental policy at the Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

 

Sterling Burnett is a senior fellow on environmental policy at the Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

Burnett worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis for 18 years, ending his tenure there as senior fellow in charge of environmental policy. He has held various positions in professional and public policy organizations. He is a past president of the Dallas Woods and Water Conservation Club; a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation; an academic advisor for Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow; an advisory board member to the Cornwall Alliance; and served as a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Task Force in the Texas Comptroller’s e-Texas commission.

Burnett has a B.B.A. and a B.A. in cultural anthropology from Southern Methodist University (1986) and an M.A. (1991) and Ph.D. (2001) in applied philosophy from Bowling Green State University, specializing in environmental ethics.

Holly Fretwell

Director of outreach and a research fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC). For two decades, her research has focused on public lands policy and property rights. As an outdoor enthusiast, Fretwell strives to enhance conservation through cooperation and entrepreneurship.

 

Holly Fretwell is director of outreach and a research fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC). For two decades, her research has focused on public lands policy and property rights. As an outdoor enthusiast, Fretwell strives to enhance conservation through cooperation and entrepreneurship. 

Fretwell is author of Who is Minding the Federal Estate? Political Management of America’s Public Lands. She has provided congressional testimony on the state of U.S. national parks and the future of the Forest Service and has presented papers promoting the use of markets in public land management.

An educator at heart, Fretwell taught economics at Montana State University for 15 years, works with the Foundation for Teaching Economics, and has coauthored a curriculum for high school teachers on economic principles. Fretwell holds a B.A. in political science and an M.S.  in resource economics from Montana State University.

John C. Goodman

President and founder of the Goodman Institute, is a leading thinker on health policy and is known as the “the father of Health Savings Accounts. His Ph.D. in economics is from Columbia University; he has taught at numerous universities and received the prestigious Duncan Black Award in 1988 for the best scholarly article on public choice economics. 

 

John C. Goodman, president and founder of the Goodman Institute, is a leading thinker on health policy and is known as the “the father of Health Savings Accounts.” 

He is the author of 14 books, including Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis; Leaving Women Behind: Modern Families, Outdated Laws (with Kimberley Strassel); and Patient Power (with Gerald Musgrave). 

Widely published and often interviewed on television, he regularly briefs members of Congress on economic policy and frequently testifies before congressional committees. 

An active debater in college, he was a debating partner with William F. Buckley on a number of prime-time shows—on such topics as the flat tax, welfare reform and Social Security privatization. As head of the National Center for Policy Analysis, he wrote more than 50 papers and monographs. 

His Ph.D. in economics is from Columbia University; he has taught at numerous universities and received the prestigious Duncan Black Award in 1988 for the best scholarly article on public choice economics.

Wallace Kaufman

His career spans writing, teaching, and real estate, in which he has pioneered by creating and using environmental covenants in housing developments. Kaufman is the author of several books, including a memoir, a sci-fi novel about the ethical issues of genomics, and an early critique of the environmental movement.

 

Wallace Kaufman’s career spans writing, teaching, and real estate, in which he has pioneered by creating and using environmental covenants in housing developments. 

He has a B.A. from Duke and an M.Litt from Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar. Kaufman is the author of several books, including a memoir, a sci-fi novel about the ethical issues of genomics, and an early critique of the environmental movement, No Turning Back: Dismantling the Fantasies of Environmental Thinking. 

Recently he has taught poetry for Oregon Coast Community College and a course on environmental covenants at Texas A&M Law School in Fort Worth. He has served as resident adviser on housing and land reform in Kazakhstan, created several rural acreage communities with environmental covenants in North Carolina, and now works from his home base on a deep-water slough on the Oregon coast, where he photographs wildlife and landscapes.

Jane Shaw Stroup

Chair of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, she was president of the center (then called the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy) from 2008 until 2015, when she retired. Stroup is a past president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education. She is married to economist Richard Stroup.

 

Jane Shaw Stroup (who also writes under the name Jane S. Shaw) is chair of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. She was president of the center (then called the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy) from 2008 until 2015, when she retired. 

Stroup spent 22 years with PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana, where she was a senior fellow. Previously, she was a journalist and was an associate economics editor of Business Week before she joined PERC. With Michael Sanera, she coauthored Facts, Not Fear: Teaching Children about the Environment and initiated a book series for young people, Critical Thinking about Environmental Issues. She coedited A Guide to Smart Growth (Heritage Foundation) with Ronald Utt. 

Stroup is a past president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education. She is married to economist Richard Stroup.