Friends of Animals Help Spoil Yet Another Attempt By Hunters

To Evade The Endangered Species Act

August 14, 2013 — For Immediate Release

Contact: Michael Harris, Director Wildlife Law Program: 720-949-779

On August 9, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell issued a 105-page ruling denying an attempt by the U.S. hunting community to remove legal protections for three African antelope species — the scimitar-horned oryx, dama gazelle, and addax — under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Safari Club International (SCI), a group that promotes unrestricted hunting of animals for sport, had asked the Court to remove these three species from the list of endangered animals.

The Exotic Wildlife Association (EWA), a group that promotes the interests of canned-hunting ranches in Texas and other states, had asked the Court to prevent the U.S. Fish Wildlife Service (FWS) from removing a blanket exemption for captive members of these three species that was found to be illegal under the ESA by a Court in 2009.

“This is an important step toward eliminating the legal arguments that have so far allowed humans to keep these animals in captivity for the sole purpose of killing them,” says Michael Harris, Director of Friends of Animals’ Wildlife Law Program. “For the first time, these antelope — whether free in the wild or held captive — are all being given equal protection under the law,” Harris continues.

This is not the first time that Friends of Animals has prevailed against SCI and EWA with respect to these species. In 2005, Friends of Animals succeeded in forcing FWS to list these antelope as endangered after the agency refused to do so for nearly 15 years in order to protect the interests of SCI and EWA members.

In 2008, Friends of Animals brought a successful lawsuit against FWS which, again to appease SCI and EWA, had issued an illegal Sport-Hunting rule that sought to exempt from legal protection African antelope held captive on U.S. hunting ranches.

Now it’s Friends of Animals that is setting its sights on ending all hunting of these animals in the U.S. Ironically, also on August 9, 2013, Friends of Animals sent notice to FWS of its intent to sue the agency for its decision to issue one of these ranches a permit to kill captive, endangered scimitar- horned oryx. Through this lawsuit, Friends of Animals hopes to once and for all establish the rights of these animals to be given full protection under the ESA and to be free from human exploitation.