Editor’s Note: Today, we’re happy to relinquish our normal editorial position to allow Safari Club International the opportunity to respond to allegations reported earlier this week by the Associated Press. The AP report in question alleges that Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) activists went undercover at SCI convention and “verified” that Safari Club is allowing “canned” trophy hunts on the convention floor despite the organization’s longstanding policy against allowing vendors to do that.
Today the CEO of Safari Club International (SCI), W. Laird Hamberlin, vowed swift action to ensure that its convention exhibitors operate in full compliance with SCI’s policies. The release of heavily edited convention video footage that allegedly shows vendors at Safari Club International’s Annual Convention violating SCI policies has triggered the opening of an ethics investigation by SCI.
As the world’s leading advocate for hunters and sportsmen, SCI will take all necessary action to ensure all vendors and exhibitors adhere to the policies that govern the Ultimate Sportsmen’s Market. SCI’s policies are carefully calibrated to ensure that exhibitor offerings comply with not only all applicable laws and regulations, but also adhere to SCI’s code of hunter ethics.
At the same time, SCI is committed to ensuring that all vendors involved in this ethics investigation be afforded due process. The vendors who attend SCI’s Convention every year are a crucial component to the organization’s overall role as the leading advocate for hunters and they too have the right to a fair and transparent process with the opportunity to defend their business against allegations that may be entirely baseless. That is why SCI, in the sake of transparency, is challenging the Humane Society to provide us with a full, unedited copy of the footage taken at the Convention last week so that every party involved has unrestricted access to all the facts.
Lastly, it is the duty of SCI to additionally clarify that all products offered at our 48thAnnual Convention are legal under all applicable federal and state laws. Out of an abundance of caution, SCI has disqualified certain items from sale or auction in the months leading up to the show, and SCI works closely with law enforcement agencies during the show to guarantee that all products offered for sale on the show floor are fully compliant. The material composition of specific items is difficult to differentiate from unreliable secondhand accounts and secretly recorded videos, but SCI also notes that many products featured on the Convention floor are for display purposes only and not available for purchase.
SCI CEO Laird Hamberlin commented on the ethics investigation, saying “Under my leadership, this organization will take all necessary action to ensure that all of our partners adhere to the policies that are instrumental in making us First for Hunters. Any vendor who violates those principles puts at risk all the work that SCI does not only for hunters but also for wildlife, such as raising $13 million from this year’s convention alone. While our accusers are exploiting these allegations purely to fundraise for their own coffers, the success of our convention provides critical conservation funding that will be deployed all over the world. For that reason, I hope that our accusers have an equal commitment to a rigorous examination of all the facts, and will provide us the raw footage to assist us in this process. No matter where this investigation may take us, I can guarantee that SCI will identify and follow the right course of action to guarantee the integrity of our show, and adherence to our high standards for ethical hunting.”