ATTENTION: This issue has been RESOLVED and no further action is needed. Thanks for your support!
WHAT: USFWS has announced that effective immediately, it will suspend all inspection and clearance of wildlife imports/exports during overtime hours on weekdays, weekends, or Federal Holidays. This draconian measure is in response to the recent across the board budget cuts implemented by the White House as part of the budgetary sequester. As a result, shipments will be delayed and animals will be put needlessly at risk.
We urge USARK members to contact their U.S. Congressional Representative and Senators to ask that they restore these vital services to prevent the disruption of our businesses and the unnecessary loss of live or perishable wildlife/wildlife products.
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The USFWS announcement can be viwed here: http://usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/FWSHiringFreeze.pdf
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Send emails, letters and/or call your U.S. Congressman and Senators. The process below will only take a few minutes and it will make a difference.
Simply click the link and then "Choose a State." Click on your Senator's contact link and you will be provided with a contact form and contact information for your two state Senators. Simply copy and paste the letter and subject title below and send it.
Below is a link to contact your federal Representative. Simply click the link and enter your zip code. You will see your Representative's information (you may need to narrow search with your address). You will see a small envelope next to your Representative's picture that you can click to send an email (or you may visit the Representative's website provided). Simply copy and paste the letter and subject title below and send it.
Letter and Subject Title To Copy and Paste Below
Copy and paste below line for your subject:
Restore USFWS overtime for inspection of Wildlife Shipments
Copy and paste below for your letter:
Dear Member of Congress,
In response to the recent budget cuts, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has suspended inspection and clearance of wildlife imports or exports during overtime hours on weekdays, weekends, and Federal holidays.
The suspension of these vital services will result in the disruption of many businesses that import or export wildlife and wildlife products, and may compromise perishable shipments. Of even greater concern, the lack of inspection services will likely cause needless death or injury to live animals shipped through the affected ports.
Shippers of live animals and perishable wildlife products are at the mercy of airline and transport schedules. Even with the best of planning, delays can occur. To eliminate the availability of these overtime services, which are paid for by the shippers, makes no sense and does little to address budget shortfalls at the agency.
Overtime wages are paid entirely by user fees at rates exponentially higher than the hourly wages of the employees. This reduction in employee hours will actually lose revenue for the Service. One importer alone paid $375,000 in fees to USFWS in 2012. Over $125,000 of those fees went to overtime services.
Not only does this action remove a revenue stream from the Service, it also cripples many businesses. Flight delays and cancellations, as well as weekend and after hour flights, are unavoidable. In fact, many, if not most, international flights arrive during overtime working hours or on weekends.
Please take action to protect wildlife shippers and the animals that they ship. The costs of this ‘budget cutting’ measure far outweigh any possible benefits. I urge you to reverse this decision by USFWS.