Tag: Ensure

New Lawsuit Aims To Ensure That The USFWS Provide Protection For The Last 300 Wolverines That Remain In The Contiguous United States

WildEarth Guardians, and a coalition of wildlife advocates, filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to deny protections for imperiled wolverines under the Endangered Species Act. This is the second time that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has prioritized politics over science for wolverines, which number only an estimated 300 in the contiguous United States.

The groups in the lawsuit defeated the Service in court in 2016, after the Service abruptly withdrew its proposed rule to list the wolverine population in the lower 48 states as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The court ordered the agency back to the drawing board with a directive to apply the best science in evaluating the protection needed for the wolverine. Four years later, the Service returned with the same decision to deny wolverine protective status, despite no new scientific support for such a determination.

The recent complaint aims to ensure the Service utilizes the best available science when making listing decisions, and to provide wolverines the protective status they desperately need and deserve.

“In the face of a clear biodiversity crisis and mass extinction event, imperiled species need swift and coordinated federal government protection now more than ever,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians, in a statement. “Wolverines, like so many other persecuted carnivores, remain imperiled according to clear scientific evidence. Relying upon piecemeal management by state wildlife agencies for wolverine survival, because of political pressure, is insufficient for recovery and contrary to both science and the law.”

In April 2016, a federal judge sided with conservation groups, agreeing that the Service’s August 2014 decision to not list wolverines as threatened was “arbitrary and capricious” and contrary to scientific literature. In a scathing opinion, the court clearly stated that “no greater level of certainty is needed to see the writing on the wall for this species standing squarely in the path of global climate change. It has taken us twenty years to get to this point. It is the court’s view that if there is one thing required of the Service under the ESA, it is to take action at the earliest possible, defensible point in time to protect against the loss of biodiversity within our reach as a nation. For the wolverine, that time is now.” 

“This is yet another chapter in this administration’s war on science,” said Matthew Bishop, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center, and legal counsel for the coalition. “Public records reveal that the Service decided not to protect wolverines from day one, and then worked backwards to figure out how to make the decision stick. It’s really unfortunate.”

Before its decisions to deny wolverines endangered species protections, the Service identified climate change, in conjunction with small population size, as the primary threat to the species’ existence in the contiguous United States.

The wolverine relies on snow year-round. With its large paws, it can travel easily over snow. Snow also works as a “freezer” that permits the wolverine to store and scavenge food. One study found that 98% of all wolverine dens are in places with persistent snowpack.

Published, peer-reviewed research, Society for Conservation Biologyshows that the majority of experts who reviewed the decision, and the Service’s own biologists all verified this finding.

“This is something we were really hoping to avoid after the court’s 2016 decision,” said Bishop. “I was cautiously optimistic that the Service would get it right this time and we would be focusing our time and energy on developing a conservation strategy, recovery plan, critical habitat, and possibly reintroduction efforts for wolverines. Instead, we’re back in court challenging an agency that continues to put politics over science.”

The coalition filing the lawsuit includes: WildEarth Guardians, Friends of the Bitterroot, Friends of the Wild Swan, Swan View Coalition, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, George Wuerthner, Footloose Montana, Native Ecosystems Council, Wildlands Network, Helena Hunters and Anglers Association. The coalition is represented by the Western Environmental Law Center.

The post New Lawsuit Aims To Ensure That The USFWS Provide Protection For The Last 300 Wolverines That Remain In The Contiguous United States appeared first on World Animal News.

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New Bill Requires Creation Of A Dedicated U.S. Department Of Justice Division To Ensure The Enforcement Of Animal Cruelty Crimes

Senator Mike Braun of Indiana and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island have introduced the bipartisan Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act to ensure that the federal government has a dedicated office for the enforcement of animal cruelty statutes. Senator Braun and Senator Whitehouse are joined on this bipartisan bill by original co-sponsors Senator John Kennedy, Senator Martha McSally, and Senator Richard Blumenthal.

The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would create by statute a dedicated Animal Cruelty Crimes Division at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to aid in the investigation, enforcement, and subsequent prosecution of felony animal cruelty crimes. It also would require DOJ to report annually on the progress made enforcing animal cruelty statutes.

“America has recently taken big steps to crack down on animal cruelty with new laws to protect animals from torture and abuse, but we need further action to ensure these laws are being enforced across the country and track our progress in eradicating animal cruelty,” Senator Braun said in a statement.

Within the last two years, several prominent animal welfare statutes signed into law have vastly expanded the breadth and depth of the animal cruelty laws on the federal books.

As previously reported by WAN, The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, the Parity in Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act, and the Pet and Women Safety Act have added important new laws to the federal code. These laws were passed with significant bipartisan support for the purposes of addressing animal cruelty issues head-on, recognizing the increasingly large body of research that closely links violence against animals with violence against humans.

“I am pleased to join my colleague Senator Braun to introduce this legislation to protect animal welfare,” stated Senator Whitehouse. “We need to make sure laws related to serious negligence and cruelty toward animals are clear and enforceable, and that the Department of Justice has the dedicated resources it needs to prosecute them.”

Over the past several years, the Department of Justice has taken steps to invest significant amounts of attorney time into reviewing reports of animal cruelty and investigating cases. However, given the significant influx of laws on the books, it is important that a dedicated section be established.

“People who abuse innocent animals often turn their violence on innocent people. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act would help better prevent and prosecute animal cruelty, and I’m proud to partner with Senator Braun and my colleagues to keep our communities safe from sick people who target helpless creatures,” concluded Senator Kennedy.

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

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