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Seeks Review of Federal Government's Wildlife Killing Programs
Ashley Wilmes | Staff Attorney | WildEarth Guardians | 859-312-4162
Las Vegas, NV. WildEarth Guardians continued its legal campaign to reign in the federal government’s wildlife killing agency yesterday when it filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The group asked the court to overturn a flawed lower court decision and reinstate the organization’s challenge against the ironically-named federal “Wildlife Services.” Wildlife Services is a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that kills millions of wild animals each year.
In April 2012, Guardians sued Wildlife Services for its failure to update its outdated national programmatic environmental review, which primarily relies on outdated scientific studies from the 1970s and 1980s, and for its failure to conduct the required environmental analysis of its wildlife-killing activities in Nevada. The Nevada federal district court did not reach the question of whether Wildlife Services’ stagnant, 18-year-old environmental review violated the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), instead finding that Guardians lacked “standing” to object to the government’s massive wildlife cull.
“The lower court erred in its decision to allow Wildlife Services to continue its expensive, barbaric, and biologically unsound practices without giving citizens and taxpayers the ability to scrutinize its questionable conduct,” said Wendy Keefover, Carnivore Protection Director for WildEarth Guardians. “We are asking the appeals court to take a fresh look at these issues, and to grant relief to wild animals, wildlife watchers, and taxpayers.”
The federal government spends well over $100 million annually to kill wildlife nationwide. Wildlife Services plants restricted-use pesticides such as sodium cyanide and the avicide DRC-1339 in wild places. Absent Wildife Services’ participation and support, states would neither have the authority, nor the funding to continue the cruel business of culling massive numbers of wild animals, including coyotes, mountain lions, black bears, ravens, and bobcats.
“NEPA guarantees the public a say in federal programs that effect our environment,” said Keefover. “Our suit seeks to ensure Wildlife Services is using the best available science to ensure its activities are not negatively impacting the environment.”
The legal brief filed yesterday is the first in a series of legal documents that will be filed before the Ninth Circuit by WildEarth Guardians, the federal government, and others over the next four months. Once the case is fully briefed a panel of judges on the Ninth Circuit will rule on the matter.
Review the Case History:
Read Guardians’ Report: