From his perch as co-chairman of the Animal Protection Caucus in Congress, a Florida Republican is urging President Donald Trump to restore the ban on allowing African lion trophies to be brought into the United States.
Noting there are less than 20,000 African lions, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., called on Trump to overturn the U.S. Interior Department’s decision to allow these trophies. The Interior Department’s decision has allowed hunters to collect lion trophies from Zambia and Zimbabwe as opposed to just managed lands in South Africa.
“Allowing lion heads to be brought into the U.S. as trophies will only encourage the slaughter of these magnificent animals,” Buchanan said. “President Trump should reverse his Interior secretary’s decision and keep the ban on African lion trophies.”
Buchanan noted that last month Trump froze the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) proposal to end the ban on African elephant trophies.
In recent years, Buchanan, who sits on both the U.S. House Budget and Ways and Means Committees, has been active on animal welfare issues. Last year, he teamed up with U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-NM, to urge the Interior Department to end plans to exterminate or sell more than 45,000 wild horses. Buchanan has also been leading the charge on Capitol Hill to stop slaughtering horses for human consumption.
The Bradenton congressman has also been active in trying to keep manatees covered under the Endangered Species Act. Earlier this year, Buchanan protested the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to downgrade manatees from “endangered” to “threatened.” Buchanan also teamed up with U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., bringing out the “Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act," a proposal banning the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption. Buchanan was named legislator of the year by the Humane Society of the United States in 2016.