Wild Horses: Friends of Animals has brought over a dozen cases to protect wild horses and our lawsuits have stopped the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from rounding up thousands of horses in Wyoming, to limiting a Montana wild horse herd size to an outdated, low population target, and from attempting to loosen restrictions on the sale of wild horses to private parties that would have meant slaughter for thousands of horses. But the fight is not over. As this administration repeatedly tries to commodify our public lands by catering to the meat industry and other polluters, Friends of Animals lawsuits to protect wild horses and burros are more important than ever. Right now, Friends of Animals has three pending lawsuits that challenge BLM’s mismanagement of wild horses. Friends of Animals is the only organization currently challenging BLM’s new policy to issue long-term decisions that would give the agency complete control over wild horses and burros for decades at a time with no public oversight.
Barred Owls and Northern Spotted Owls: Friends of Animals is challanging permits that allow timber companies to permanently destroy northern spotted owl habitat. The government issued these permits to further a short-sighted experiment that involves killing over 3,600 barred owls in the in the Pacific Northwest. The experiment is designed to determine how killing one owl species will impact another. Not only is this experiment cruel, it is not a feasible management strategy. The challenged permits only exacerbate the primary threat to northern spotted owls—habitat destruction, primarily due to logging of old growth forest. This is one of the first times that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks to protect one species by killing another native species. Thus, Friends of Animals lawsuit has the potential to shape the future of wildlife management. Friends of Animals continues to fight for conservation actions that are informed by science and animal rights. In January 2020, Friends of Animals won an appeal in the Ninth Circuit that allows the case to move forward.
Prairie Dogs: Prairie dogs are some of the most intelligent and social animals on earth. Sadly, they are also one of many animal species subject to brutal and intentional human destruction. Friends of Animals successfully defended against attacks on protections for Utah prairie dogs under the Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, after that win, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service devised a plan that authorizes unlimited removal and killing of Utah prairie dogs across the entire range of their habitat. Friends of Animals is challenging the new plan to ensure this keystone species is protected.
Wild Bison: The wild bison of the Yellowstone are the world’s most important bison population in existence. Fewer than 4,000 exist today due to a government plan that is heavily influenced by Montana livestock interests. Since late-February 2020, more than 800 of these bison —nearly 18% — have been eliminated through slaughter, quarantine, and hunting. Friends of Animals continues to work to secure a future for this iconic mammal. In 2018, Friends of Animals won a lawsuit requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider a petition to protect this distinct population under the Endangered Species Act. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service again failed to list the distinct population of bison. This year, Friends of Animals filed another lawsuit to get the agency to consider the overwhelming evidence that supports listing.