HomeEnvironmentAfter the dispute, the duck stamp contest may no longer require hunting...

After the dispute, the duck stamp contest may no longer require hunting scenes

The Biden administration has questioned a controversial policy that requires artists to include hunting images in works submitted to wildlife art competitions.

Last May, the Trump administration changed the rules of the federal duck stamp contest. Duck stamps are not stamps, but a license that waterfowl hunters must purchase and other protection supporters voluntarily purchase. Since 1934, the government has used funds raised through stamp sales to obtain and protect approximately 6 million acres of habitat in more than 300 national wildlife sanctuaries. Wildlife artists compete every year for the honor that their artwork will appear on the stamps of the next year.

These rules have changed, this Audubon First 2019 report, Making “Celebrate our waterfowl hunting heritage” a permanent theme of the art competition. They also require that each entry contain hunting images, and all five contest judges have experience in waterfowl hunting. In order to comply with the new regulations, the artists in the competition last year drew empty shotgun shells and ducks floating in the water.Scenes Watching some observers like garbage with ignite A kind Public outcry in Perception politicization What is good for health, Beloved corner Art world.

Faced with this backlash, the government is now working to eliminate hunting requirements.Preliminary notice Publish online Indicates that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plans to restore the previous rules from the 2022 competition. A spokesperson for the FWS declined to comment, but warned that the agency has not formally advanced the proposal.

Rebecca Knight, who won second place in the 2016 competition and won the juvenile duck stamp competition in 2006, said that giving up the task of supporting hunting will allow artists to regain creative freedom. Designing within the scope of this restriction must include hunting elements,” Knight said in an email. “I like to occasionally see bait or boats in the background, but imposing these things on the image will change every year. It’s very old. “

The Biden administration has targeted many other Trump-era environmental policies that are more important than the rules of the art competition.This month alone, the government Suspend all oil and gas activities In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, it started Recovery protection For endangered species, and Take steps to overthrow This rule leaves many wetlands and stream habitats unprotected by development and pollution.

Nevertheless, environmentalists say that it is not just artistic freedom that changes the rules of the game. As American hunting declines, the number of people who must buy duck stamps is declining—98 cents for every dollar spent directly on protecting wetlands—are decreasing. Recognizing this trend, FWS has worked hard to encourage bird watchers, hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts to purchase duck stamps to support conservation.Hunters previously accounted for the vast majority of sales, but by 2018 it exceeded 1.5 million Bought duck stamp And about 1 million people Hunted waterfowl.

Critics of the rule change argue that requiring hunting scenes-which has never been banned-may create a gap between hunters and other nature lovers. Although they share a common interest and commitment to conservation, they may inhibit Funding for wildlife habitat. “It is a terrible mistake to rename the duck seal to be for hunters only, and will harm duck hunting and federal waterfowl protection efforts,” A hunter wrote In last year’s public comments. “We firmly believe that emphasizing hunting theme on stamps will cause more and more non-consumer publics and stamp collectors to reduce their interest in artworks, and their support for stamps will eventually lead to fewer stamps purchased and reduced income. Used for refuge Acquired,” Friends of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge comment.

This is important for Knight who not only paints waterfowl But they are also hunted, and the wider public recognizes that hunters are staunch environmentalists and they contribute a lot of money to the protection of natural areas. But she insists that there are better ways to identify this legacy than mandatory descriptions through shotguns or camouflage. “I hope that the duck stamp will be restored to its original shape, so that our artists can repaint these beautiful birds in a way that hunters like-in a realistic, natural environment, with the least human elements,” she said. “In my opinion, the best way to celebrate our hunters is to put the spotlight on the birds they are passionate about.

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