FoA files lawsuit to challenge Congress, protect endangered antelope

By Nicole Rivard

Earlier this week, Friends of Animals fired the first legal shot over Congressman John Carter’s (R-Texas) attempt to strip away legal protection for three species of endangered African antelope that are being slaughtered on canned hunting ranches in the United States.

Section 127 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2014, adopted earlier this year, is a special interest budget rider purporting to require the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reinstate a rule allowing for these canned-hunts— a rule that was foun by a federal judge in 2009 to violate the Endangered Species Act. 

“In attaching this little provision to a the massive federal budget, Congress has not only chosen a private, for-profit interest above endangered species, it has shown a serious disrespect for the rule of law,” said Michael Harris, director of FoA’s Wildlife Law Program.

You can read the lawsuit right here. 

You can read more about the budget rider pulling the plug on antelope protection here.

Friends of Animals (FoA) has been advocating for endangered African antelope since 1999. On Feb. 22, 1999, FoA facilitated the return of the scimitar-horned oryx to Senegal, marking the start of an historical project of faith, compassion and planning. Eight antelopes traveled from Israel and arrived in Senegal, taking up residence in their ancestral home. Today, 246 oryxes thrive within two expansive, fenced, fully-protected reserves, Guembeul Faunal Reserve and Ferlo National Park, re-establishing a presence in their African homeland. FoA’s efforts to assist oryxes have also benefitted Dama gazelles. The goal is for all of these endangered antelope to live in protected freedom one day.

Friends of Animals believes hunting is unethical, socially unjustifiable and ecologically disruptive and is adamant that a canned hunting ranch cannot fulfill the purposes of the Endangered Species Act.

“Antelopes confined at a Texas hunting ranch exist for well-heeled, trophy-shooting tourists,” said Priscilla Feral, president of FoA. “Exploiting these endangered antelopes is no way to save them or treat them with dignity.

“Breeding exotic animals for the purpose of killing them isn’t the same as ‘conserving’ them.  Hunting ranches are not ecosystems where animals are protected on their native lands,” Feral said.