The move, which caught the hunting community by surprise late last month, poses a great threat to the US taxidermy industry and promises to complicate the lives of US hunters who pursue their sport in Europe. If the ban is extended into Africa and other parts of the world, which is considered possible at this point, it could destroy the US taxidermy industry and become a major disincentive for hunters to venture abroad at all.
The new animal-product import ban is designed to prevent the spread of Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) into the US. Un-mounted trophies are being banned, according to an official at APHIS, because it is considered dangerous to drill or sand the bones, horns or antlers of animals that could be infected with Mad Cow Disease. The resultant dust, or particles of material, is said to be a possible vector of disease.
The official we spoke with at APHIS, Dr. Morris, said the ban on un-mounted trophies from Europe was already in effect. It is official policy, she said, to return un-mounted trophies to their port of origin - presumably at the shipper's expense. Anyone with a pending trophy shipment from Europe containing ruminants may want to take appropriate action.
On the other hand, no one we spoke with at press time in the trophy-shipment industry had even heard of the new ban. "It hasn't gotten down to our level," is the way John Meehan of Fauna and Flora (718-244-0943) put it September 28. Meehan clears thousands of trophies a year through airports in........(continued)