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The WWF and Animal Abuse

The WWF Endorses the Killing of Wild Animals, Too
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) gives special meaning to the word “conservation.” The organization, founded in 1961 by a group of wealthy trophy hunters, apparently believes that conserving animals means keeping them around long enough for well-heeled “sportsmen” to blast them out of the woods, oceans, skies, plains of Africa, and jungles of Asia. Past WWF chapter presidents include C.R. “Pink” Gutermuth, who also served as president of the National Rifle Association, and trophy hunter Francis L. Kellogg, who is legendary for his massive kills. In its early days, the WWF even used fur auctions to raise funds.

Since then, the WWF has learned that most people are appalled by hunting and trapping, so today, the organization veils its true stance under phrases like “sustainable development,” arguing that killing is acceptable under some circumstances. When answering difficult questions about its policy on hunting, trapping, and whaling, the WWF is careful never to state outright that it approves of all these activities. But don’t be fooled, the WWF’s intentions are all too clear and deadly.

Sealing
According to the Web site of the WWF’s Canadian office, “WWF is not an animal welfare organization. We support the hunting and consumption of wild animals provided the harvesting does not threaten the long-term survival of wildlife populations. WWF has never opposed a sustainable seal hunt in northern or eastern Canada.” However, despite the WWF’s portrayal of the situation, the Canadian seal hunt is anything but a “subsistence” hunt––it is the largest slaughter of marine mammals in the world. Quotas established by the Canadian government have soared to an all-time high: 350,000 seals per year for the next three years. Not since the mid-1800s, when unrestricted slaughter saw a million seals per year killed, has so much blood been shed on the ice off Canada’s East Coast.
Worse is that the Canadian government has stated in internal documents that having the WWF’s support for any raise in seal quotas is important, and the WWF’s position statement suggests that it had been working with the Canadian government before the quota was announced. In other words, the WWF had the power to help avert the largest quota of harp seal pups in history but chose, instead, to let it happen without so much as a word of opposition.

Whaling
While the WWF states that it opposes “commercial whaling,” it does support the slaughter of whales by native tribes and under some other conditions. When asked directly about its policy, WWF is vague, stating: “WWF’s views on whether sustainable whaling should be permitted derive from its mission ‘to conserve nature and ecological processes and to help build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.’” In the past, WWF officials have clearly stated that “WWF International has the national WWF organizations behind it in the view that as soon as one can ensure a sustainable commercial harvest of the great whales under secure international control, then whaling will no longer be a WWF concern.”

Sport Hunting
As one would expect of an organization founded by hunters, the WWF does not oppose the slaughter of animals with guns and other weapons for sport. Rather than working to stop the killing, the WWF believes that hunting should be regulated, arguing that wealthy trophy hunters can bring income to poorer nations. The WWF claims that it has no power to stop hunting, stating, “The decision to allow trophy hunting is a sovereign one made entirely by the governments concerned. … We will continue to monitor governments’ enforcement of important trade laws to ensure that trophy hunting is done within the legal standards of that area.”

Elephants
The WWF believes that culling—another way of saying “killing”—elephants is acceptable, as is the trade in ivory, because the profits that it brings spur governments to keep elephants from going extinct. In 2000, U.S. News & World Report reported that WWF representatives traveled to Nairobi to ask the United Nations to lift the ban on the ivory trade in order to allow a “sustainable harvest of ivory for horns and hunting trophies.”

The WWF’s bizarre view—that we must kill some animals now in order to save animals to kill later—has proved false time and again. The trade in ivory has only encouraged rampant poaching, the senseless slaughter of elephants. The WWF tries to duck the issue by falsely stating, “The decision to cull, or to select animals from the herd for removal or death, is indeed an agonizing choice, but it is one made entirely by the governments concerned and there is no international involvement in those decisions.”

Trapping
As with hunting and whaling, the WWF refuses to condemn the massive killing of animals with steel-jaw leghold traps. While calling itself a “preservationist” organization that “seek[s] to be the voice for those creatures who have no voice,” the WWF stands back from the issue, stating that “the trade in furs, skins, and other products of animals that are not endangered isn’t the focus of our campaign.”
But no matter how hard the WWF tries to “greenwash” its support of animal slaughter, its real message rings out loud and clear: Animals are ours to hunt, trap, kill, poison, and use as we see fit. And although appeals to preserve genetic diversity, ecosystems, and the planet sound good on paper, they mean little if what the WWF is really advocating is more efficient killing fields.

Wolf Hunting
Despite an ongoing international tourist boycott that was called in response to the wolf “control” program in Alaska, in which at least 100 wolves have been shot as of March 2004, the WWF is promoting several trips to Alaska throughout June, July, and August 2004 as part of “WWF Travel,” an “ecotourism” program. When asked why the WWF was sending its members to Alaska, effectively undermining efforts to save wolves in the state, the WWF travel desk representative stated that the WWF did not consider the matter of wolf-killing a priority.




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