Monday, August 26, 2013

149 Horses Saved From Slaughter

As a result of the temporary restraining order issued on our clients’ behalf on Friday, August 16 (see post below), 149 unbranded horses were pulled from the Fallon Auction in Nevada slated to begin on Saturday morning August 17, 2013.  Although our clients lost their bid to have these horses returned to the wild, we are happy to report that all 149 have now been placed with rescue groups in the West where they will live out their lives free from the threat of helicopter roundups and trips to slaughter houses.  Hats off to our fantastic clients the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, Return to Freedom, the Cloud Foundation, the Western Watersheds Project, and Laura Leigh for saving the lives of these horses under extraordinary circumstances!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Court Enjoins Sale Of Wild Horses At Auction In Nevada

In a ruling issued last night U.S. District Judge Miranda Du of the District Court in Nevada granted our request for a temporary restraining order to stop the sale of wild horses at a private auction being held this morning in Fallon Nevada.  Approximately 417 horses were rounded up last week by the Paiute and Shoshone Tribe pursuant to an Agreement with the Forest Service that allowed the Tribe to remove their own horses as well as any "unbranded / unknown ownership / unclaimed horses” from both tribal and Forest Service lands and take them to the auction for sale.  The Forest Service has acknowledged that some of the buyers will likely be sending horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.  We filed a case on Thursday, August 15, 2013 challenging the Forest Service's failure to take precautions to ensure that rounded up horses did not include wild horses protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act, and a motion for a temporary restraining order yesterday morning to ensure that none of the unbranded horses collected by the Tribe would be sold until it could be determined whether they are wild or domesticated.  In granting the motion last night, Judge Du ruled that "Plaintiffs have demonstrated an immediate threat of irreparable harm if the status quo is not maintained, that is, the sale of wild horses and their possible slaughter," and that "the public interest is served when the Court maintains the status quo to ensure wild horses are not improperly removed and auctioned for sale to be potentially slaughtered because of an agency's action."   The Judge has set a further hearing on the matter for August 21.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Federal Court Upholds Protections For Endangered Antelopes

In a victory for animal protection and conservation groups and a blow to trophy hunting interest groups, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday upheld a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule listing the Scimitar-Horned Oryx, the Addax, and the Dama Gazelle as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.  Several organizations who advocate for trophy hunting and the ranches that supply animals for that purpose unsuccessfully challenged the agency’s listing decision in an attempt to eliminate federal and public oversight of these antelope species in U.S. canned hunting facilities where shooters pay top dollar to kill captive animals for trophies.  We intervened in the case on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States, Born Free USA, and Defenders of Wildlife, following another court victory that we obtained on behalf of the same coalition in 2009 in which the court struck down the Service’s attempt to exempt the antelope species from the ESA’s safeguards by issuing blanket permits for captive antelopes without subjecting them to public scrutiny.  The court’s opinion can be found here

Monday, August 5, 2013

Petitions Sent to National Park Service To End Killing Of Wildlife In Rock Creek Park

Today we submitted two Petitions to the National Park Service on behalf of In Defense of Animals, the Washington Humane Society, and several local D.C. residents to halt any further killing of white-tailed deer in Rock Creek Park in our nation’s Capital.  The first Petition presents a new scientific analysis by Yale University forest ecologist Dr. Oswald Schmitz demonstrating that the data relied on by the Park Service as a basis for killing the deer last Spring do not demonstrate  that deer are having any adverse impact on forest regeneration in the Park.  The Petition also demonstrates that the real threat to the Park’s native vegetation is the increase in invasive exotic plant species that are migrating into the Park from neighboring landscaping and destroying the native vegetation, causing the native deer to leave the Park in search of food.  A copy of the Petition can be found here

The second Petition is a petition signed by over 11,000 individuals who have asked the Park Service to stop killing the deer because this “will forever change the character of this very special national park in the midst of our nation’s Capital from a haven of peace and tranquility to just one more place of violence.”  A live copy of that Petition can be found here.

The Petitioners are requesting the Park Service to halt all further killing of the deer, especially when, under the sequester, the agency has been forced to eliminate or cut back much more justifiable and essential conservation programs throughout the country and even impose a hiring freeze.

Here are the additional exhibits:

Exhibit B        Jonathan Jarvis sequester testimony
Exhibit C        Environmental Impact Statement - Excerpts
Exhibit D        Final Internal Scoping Report for Deer Management in Rock
                        Creek Park
Exhibit E         2011 Krafft & Hatfield Study
Exhibit F         Declaration and Curriculum Vitae of Dr. Oswald Schmitz
Exhibit G        2010 Rutherford & Schmitz Study
Exhibit H        2005 General Management Plan
Exhibit I          2000 Resource Management Plan
Exhibit J         2004 Draft Invasive Exotic Management Plan
Exhibit K        2012 Hurley et al. Study
Exhibit L         1998 Stout Study
Exhibit M       1996 Management Plan
Exhibit N        Evaluation of Deer Management Options
Exhibit O        2001 National Invasive Species Council Management Plan
Exhibit P         Summary of Techniques to Control Exotic Invasive Plants
Exhibit Q        2004 Huston Study
Exhibit R        1996 Visitor Use Study
Exhibit S         Public Comments on Rock Creek Park Deer Management
Exhibit T         2013 Rutberg et al. Study
Exhibit U        Declaration and Curriculum Vitae of Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick
Exhibit V        Declaration and Curriculum Vitae of Dr. Allen Rutberg
Exhibit W       Wild News: 2013 Update on Nonlethal Sterilization
Exhibit X        Record of Decision, May 2012
Exhibit Y        Minutes of Science Team, March 2006
Exhibit Z         Fertility Proposal from The Humane Society of the United