You have made it possible for Friends of Animals to remain a vital, life-saving organization in 2015. For that, we are deeply grateful. We’re taking a look back at some of what we were able to accomplish in the past year alone thanks to your support. Will you join us in the year ahead? Renew your membership, or become a new member with us today! Thank you for your support.
FoA Wins Legal Victories for Wild Horses
1. Most recently, because of ongoing Friends of Animals’ litigation (other groups bailed and dropped their lawsuits), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) filed a declaration with the court to withdraw its July 31, 2015 notice, which classified wild horses in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona as “unauthorized livestock” and authorized their “impoundment”— so they could be auctioned off, sold privately or disposed of.
Our Wildlife Law Program Director Michael Harris said about the case: “Friends of Animals is able to dismiss this case because we have been able to achieve a legally binding withdrawal of the roundup notice. This is huge. We feel that it was important that it was legally binding because we wanted to make sure that Friends of Animals, and our members, could rest easy that the U.S. Forest Service wasn’t just going to go in at another time and round these animals up under that notice.”
Friends of Animals had filed a lawsuit in August against the USFS to stop the round-up and permanent removal of wild horses in Tonto National Forest in Arizona. Earlier in 2015, Friends of Animals intervened in a State of Wyoming case on behalf of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and won. In this case, the state had decided to sue to force BLM to remove more wild horses from public lands, claiming that wild horse populations exceed appropriate management levels (AML) in seven herd areas. The Court granted BLM’s motion for summary judgement finding that the BLM did not have an obligation to remove horses as soon as the population exceeded the AML.
2. In February of 2015, U.S. District Judge Larry Hicks granted Friends of Animals a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) round-up and permanent removal of 200 wild horses in the Pine Nut Herd Management Area (HMA) and the round-up of another 132 wild horses so that an estimated 66 mares can be given the fertility control drug PZP. Hicks said that with the proposed Pine Nut roundup, which was slated to begin Feb. 20, 2015, the BLM had failed to satisfy the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and other federal laws that are applicable. Shortly thereafter, BLM conceded and cancelled the roundup of Nevada’s beloved Pine Nut Herd.
Endangered Species Act Protections Gained for Two Macaw Species
Friends of Animals filed a legal petition with the UFWS back in 2008 requesting listing for 14 species of parrots. The agency found that 12 of the 14 species warranted a status review to determine if listing was appropriate.
The agency found that the military and great green macaws are in decline, primarily due to habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, small population size and poaching for the illegal pet trade. Further, the existing regulatory mechanisms designed to protect these macaws are not adequate to prevent those threats from impacting them throughout their ranges. As a result both macaws are at risk of extinction throughout their ranges – the definition of an endangered species – and in need of protection.
As a result of this listing, certain activities involving these two bird species will be prohibited without a permit, including: import into and export out of the United States; “take” (defined by the ESA as harm, harass, kill, injure, etc.) within the United States; and interstate and foreign commerce.
“Dining With Dogs” Bill Passes in NY State
Governor Cuomo signed our “Dining With Dogs” bill into law in NY State! New York will now be more dog-friendly by making it legal for dog owners to bring their dogs with them in outdoor dining areas in establishments that allow it. We have been adamant supporters of the bill and spoke at a press conference in Albany in May to garner support for the legislation, so we’re thrilled with its passage into lawafter it had passed both the Senate and Assembly early this summer. The law will go into effect January 1, 2016.
Edita Birnkrant, Campaigns Director of Friends of Animals said, “The bill changes the New York State Health Code to allow dog owners to bring their pets with them to food establishments — it had previously been illegal to dine with dogs, although some establishments allowed this law to be broken, but risked serious health code violations and hefty fines in order to do so. Now “Dining With Dogs” is the law of the land throughout all of New York State, and it’s win for dogs, for down-owners and for restaurants.”
Helped Facilitate 30,000 Spay and Neuter Procedures.
We’ve changed and grown a lot since our humble beginning working to eliminate systematic killing in shelters and pet overpopulation through a nationwide, low-cost spay and neuter program. The number of animals that die in shelters has dropped by millions annually, and it’s your tenacity and financial support that’s helped bring about this change. Fifty-eight years later, we continue to run a successful spay and neuter program, because it’s still the best way to save the lives of cats and dogs.
Fifty-eight years later, we continue to run a successful spay and neuter program, because it’s still the best way to save the lives of cats and dogs.
Pet owners may purchase a certificate from Friends of Animals that can be used for a routine spay or neuter surgery at any of FoA’s participating veterinary hospitals.
Click here to learn more about our new spay and neuter ad campaign featuring prominent billboards urging people to help keep pets off the street.
FoA drafts “Cecil’s Law” prohibiting import, possession, sale or transport of ‘Big 5’ African species
Prior to Cecil’s death this year , Friends of Animals had already drafted a bill that would protect lions and other frequently trophy-hunted animals in Africa. The law would prevent their bodies from being exported back to the United States through New York, which will go a long way to help stop this grotesque practice. The law was renamed Cecil’s Law as a tribute to the beloved lion and worldwide symbol, and is currently working its way through the New York state legislature; it will be the most comprehensive law ever passed in the United States to end trophy hunting.
The bill was introduced by NY State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens) in April.
“I am hopeful today that New York will be a trailblazer among the United States as we lead the fight against importation of these animals, placing an outright ban on importing, possessing, selling and transporting these animals,” Avella said at a press conference. “Hopefully this legislation, if enacted in New York, will send a message to every other state and the federal government, that the practices are inappropriate and that we are going to stop the importation of these body parts through New York.”
If the bill becomes law—anyone violating the law could face up to two years in prison.