MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Aug. 2, 2018 – Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) applaud today's reversal of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) order banning GMO (genetically modified organism) crops on national wildlife refuges.
The ban, announced in 2014, significantly decreased food availability and management options for waterfowl and other wildlife.
“Ducks Unlimited and the NWTF advocate for science-based decision making,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “That includes bringing attention to decisions that restrict effective wildlife management and were clearly not based on science. We are pleased the USFWS reversed this decision and restored this essential tool for waterfowl and wildlife management to our National Wildlife Refuges.”
The rhetoric surrounding GMOs was used as the reason for effectively canceling this program. While there is no consensus that GMO crops are dangerous to human health, there are concerns about chemical use in farming operations, which are needed to effectively produce quality crops. However, to safeguard against the use of any chemicals dangerous to wildlife, refuges are required to submit a pesticide use proposal for approval by contaminant specialists in the USFWS. Through this process, potential threats to people or wildlife will be fully addressed.
“We applaud the Service’s recognition that their farming practices must stay current with common products and technology to sustain wildlife populations the refuge system was created to conserve,” said NWTF CEO Becky Humphries.
Due to the reversal, the National Wildlife Refuge System will now determine when GMO crops should be used on a case-by-case basis.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative – a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org.