Tag: Court

Breaking! Court Rules That The Last Seven Critically Endangered Captive Red Wolves In North Carolina Must Be Released Into The Wild

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina ruled in a case brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must develop a plan by March 1, 2021, to resume its longstanding and successful practice of releasing captive red wolves into the Red Wolf Recovery Area in North Carolina. The case was brought on behalf of the Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and Animal Welfare Institute.

As reported by WAN last month, there are tragically as few as seven red wolves remaining in the wild today. The court order temporarily prohibits the agency from implementing its recent policy change that would prevent the release of captive wolves into the wild.

On November 16, 2020, the Southern Environmental Law Center sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina for violations of the Endangered Species Act. This was caused by new, illegal agency policies that bar the use of proven management measures to save wild red wolves on behalf of Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and Animal Welfare Institute. It filed for a motion for preliminary injunction in the case on November 19, 2020.

“With only seven known red wolves left in the wild, it is past time for the Fish and Wildlife Service to resume conservation measures that it used successfully for decades,” Sierra Weaver, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center which represents the conservation organizations, said in a statement. “The court was clear that the agency has to stop managing red wolves into extinction and instead take meaningful action to rebuild the wild red wolf population in North Carolina.”

“We are grateful that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will finally abide by its responsibility to protect this critically endangered wolf,” stated Ben Prater, Southeast program director at Defenders of Wildlife. “Releasing wolves into the wild is a common sense, science-backed approach to boost this population and stave off the red wolf’s extinction. While the species has a long way to go, this is a major step in the right direction.”

“This is a vital ruling that will breathe new life into the Red Wolf Recovery Program,” noted Johanna Hamburger, director and senior staff attorney for AWI’s terrestrial wildlife program. “The Court held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s passive efforts to manage the wild red wolf population are woefully inadequate to recover the species. By ordering the agency to once again release wolves from captivity into the wild population, the Court is requiring much-needed action to prevent the continued downward spiral of this species.”

“The Red Wolf Coalition is grateful that the court saw the importance of releasing captive red wolves to the wild population,” said Kim Wheeler, Executive Director of Red Wolf Coalition. “These additional red wolves will add genetic diversity and breeding opportunities to the wild population in northeastern North Carolina.”

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Breaking! Court Rules That The Last Seven Critically Endangered Captive Red Wolves In North Carolina Must Be Released Into The Wild appeared first on World Animal News.

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Breaking! The UK Supreme Court Upholds The Government’s Ban On Ivory By Revoking A Final Attempt By Antiques Dealers To Overturn It

The landmark UK Ivory Act has passed its final hurdle with the announcement on August 17th that the Supreme Court has refused to allow an appeal against a Court of Appeal decision in May by antiques dealers.

The Act was introduced after the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) revealed, in its ground-breaking research in 2017, that the UK was the world’s leading exporter of antique ivory, particularly to China and Hong Kong; two illegal trade hotspots.

Despite being passed in 2018, with overwhelming support and cross-party Parliamentary backing, the Act has been challenged at every opportunity by a small group of traders operating as Friends of Antique Cultural Treasures (FACT). It was first challenged at a judicial review in the High Court in November 2019, again at an appeal in February of this year against the High Court’s decision in favor of the Act, and, most recently, at the Court of Appeal’s decision in May upholding the Act’s validity and legality.

“We are delighted to learn that the Supreme Court has rejected a further application to appeal against the UK Government’s ivory ban, considered one of the strictest of all bans globally,” Mary Rice, EIA Executive Director, said in a statement. “This marks the end, finally, of a long and challenging legal drama and means that we can now celebrate the decision to close the UK’s ivory markets and congratulate the UK for its perseverance and tenacity in upholding the ban. The next challenge to help give the world’s precious elephants a future is to close the EU’s ivory markets.”

EIA has been in the vanguard of a campaign to adopt ivory trade restrictions in the UK, arguing that any legal trade in ivory provides cover for the illegal trade because it is difficult to distinguish between antique and newly carved ivory.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Breaking! The UK Supreme Court Upholds The Government’s Ban On Ivory By Revoking A Final Attempt By Antiques Dealers To Overturn It appeared first on World Animal News.

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USDA Sued In Federal Court For Failing To Provide “Humane” Handling Of Chickens & Turkeys At Slaughter

Today, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and Farm Sanctuary sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in federal court for failing to require “humane“ handling of chickens at slaughter, resulting in adulterated (i.e., damaged or contaminated) meat that violates the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA).

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York by Harvard Law School’s new Animal Law & Policy Clinic, which is representing the plaintiff organizations. It calls on the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to develop regulations governing the handling of chickens, turkeys, and other birds at federally inspected slaughter facilities to address the systematic mistreatment of these animals, which can compromise food safety and meat quality.

“Each year, 9 billion chickens and turkeys are slaughtered in the United States, yet the USDA does virtually nothing to prevent pain and suffering of the birds at slaughter,” said Dena Jones, farm animal program director for AWI in a statement. 

Periodic reviews of USDA enforcement records by AWI reveal that, every year, government inspectors document tens of thousands of birds suffering excruciating deaths before they even reach the slaughter line. Thousands of birds die, sometimes in a single incident, from causes that are unacceptable under the PPIA. Birds in slaughter plants were also subjected to intentional acts of cruelty by workers, including being kicked, hit, mutilated, driven over, or dumped onto conveyor belts with visibly broken legs and wings.

Sadly, these reported incidents barely scratch the surface, given that USDA inspectors observe the handling of only a very small percentage of the birds slaughtered. Inspectors at one-third of all poultry plants, in fact, generated no humane handling records whatsoever during a recent three-year period.

As it stands, the industry is able to forego humane handling practices with little, if any, consequences. Currently, the only action USDA inspectors can take when they observe mistreatment of birds is to issue a memorandum describing the incident. Even when establishments engage in repeated or intentional acts, the USDA does nothing to stop it. The USDA is aware that its failure to require humane handling of birds at slaughter results in the adulteration of millions of bird carcasses annually, but the department turns a blind eye.

In one case, nearly 10,000 birds froze to death after being transported and held for at least 22 hours in unprotected trucks during extreme cold at a Butterfield Foods slaughterhouse in Minnesota. In another incident, a Jennie-O slaughter plant in Minnesota was cited 10 times in just four months when birds were seriously injured by malfunctioning equipment that caused large areas of their skin to be torn, resulting in hemorrhaging and muscle damage. The Southern Hens facility in Mississippi was cited 10 times in less than a month because workers were tossing crates with live birds inside.

This widespread abuse of birds at slaughter could be prevented if the USDA adopted humane handling regulations. In 2013, AWI and Farm Sanctuary petitioned the FSIS to use the authority granted to it by Congress to codify chicken handling standards into enforceable regulations.

After a six-year delay, during which time federal inspectors documented more than 1,000 incidents of chicken mistreatment, the FSIS denied the petition. At the same time, it denied a second petition from AWI asking the agency to address the problem of birds being abandoned for extended periods in the holding areas of slaughter plants — often in extreme heat or cold.

Despite the USDA’s own evidence identifying the mistreatment of birds as a cause of adulterated chicken products, the FSIS claimed it had no jurisdiction to enforce humane handling of birds at slaughter, and maintained that the current approach of voluntary compliance is adequate.

“Chickens and other birds suffer egregious cruelty at U.S. slaughterhouses,” said Gene Baur, President and Co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. “The USDA has failed to provide basic humane consideration, allowing callous abuse and irresponsible killing methods that threaten our health and humanity, and are outside the bounds of acceptable conduct in a society that purports to care about compassion.”

The plaintiffs are represented by Katherine Meyer, Director of Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic, with the assistance of several law students who helped draft the complaint.

Please remember that the best thing we all can do to end the suffering of chickens, turkeys, and other animals is to simply leave them off our plates.

The post USDA Sued In Federal Court For Failing To Provide “Humane” Handling Of Chickens & Turkeys At Slaughter appeared first on World Animal News.

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Victory! Court Upholds San Francisco Fur Ban As Constitutional In Response To A Lawsuit By The International Fur Trade Federation

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a constitutional challenge to San Francisco’s ban on the sale of fur products. The International Fur Trade Federation filed its lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco in January 2020. The Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society of the United States intervened in the lawsuit, to defend the ordinance’s constitutionality and preserve San Francisco’s right to ban fur.

The fur ban was unanimously approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2018 and went into effect on January 1, 2019, while allowing retailers until the end of last year to sell off existing inventory.

San Francisco’s ban was built on the successes of West Hollywood and Berkeley passing similar legislation, and paved the way for Los Angeles and, finally, the state of California, to pass similar humane legislation in 2019.

Given the wide array of faux fur products and similar alternatives available to the fashion industry, the San Francisco ordinance was aimed at preventing animal cruelty and environmental impacts associated with fur production by banning fur sales in the City.

More than a year after the ordinance took effect, the International Fur Trade Federation responded by filing a lawsuit which sought to strike it down as unconstitutional. The court disagreed, and issued a decision making clear that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause does not preclude San Francisco from ridding its marketplace of cruel fur products.

“The challenge to San Francisco’s ban was a test from the opposition to the constitutionality against all fur bans, as this legislation gains momentum,” Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Executive Director Stephen Wells, said in a statement. “The Animal Legal Defense Fund will continue to defend fur bans, and other animal protection legislation, as voters fight back against systematically cruel industries that profit from the exploitation of animals.”

Animal fur — from animals like foxes, minks, raccoon dogs, and many others — is produced under inhumane conditions to maintain the “integrity” of the animal’s skin, also known as the pelt. Animals are kept in small, filthy cages, that are typically stacked on top of one another, with waste falling onto the occupant below, before being suffocated, electrocuted, or gassed to death. Animals are commonly skinned alive with no painkillers while fully conscious.

HELP US END THE FUR TRADE! 

Include your name on the growing list of compassionate consumers that have gone fur-free and are urging companies that still sell fur to stop by signing HERE!

The post Victory! Court Upholds San Francisco Fur Ban As Constitutional In Response To A Lawsuit By The International Fur Trade Federation appeared first on World Animal News.

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