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03/07/2003 "I remember how shocked I was when I learned they hunted and trapped in Refuges"

Protecting Wildlife
SILVER SPRING, MD -- As the centennial of the National Wildlife Refuge System approaches, The Fund for Animals is asking the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore the National Wildlife Refuges to their original mission -- to protect wildlife from hunting and trapping.

Most people would be astonished to learn that hunting and trapping are allowed, even encouraged, in places set aside for the protection of wildlife," wrote Markarian. "They would be even more astounded to know that additional Refuges are being opened to recreational killing at an accelerating pace."

Since 1997, approximately 40 new Refuges have been opened to hunting.
Now 311 of the 540 Refuges -- nearly 60% -- are open to hunting and/or trapping.

Markarian added that "allowing the killing of animals for sport in an area designated as a 'wildlife refuge' debases our language, deceives the public, and violates the American spirit of honesty and fair play."

A Decision Research opinion poll conducted in 1999 revealed that 78% of Americans oppose hunting and trapping on National Wildlife Refuges.

Moreover, the Refuge System represents only 5% of the public land that is available to hunters and trappers.

Markarian wrote, "Surely, it is not too much to ask that this miniscule percentage
be set aside for the peaceful enjoyment of the overwhelming majority of those who visit the Refuges."

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