Our Work: Petitions and Comments

Our Work: Petitions and Comments


Endangered Species Act Petitions. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has prevented the extinction for approximately 99 percent of species under its protection since its enactment in 1973. Friends of Animals has submitted several petitions to U.S. federal agencies to gain protections for animals that are in danger of extinction largely due to human exploitation. Some of the species we have submitted petitions for include the following: giant devil ray, Egyptian tortoise, spider tortoise, flat-tailed tortoise, and long-tailed chinchilla. We would love to hear of any experiences you have had with these animals. Please email us any stories you have observing these animals in respectful way.

Friends of Animals’ petitions secured ESA protections for four populations of scalloped hammerhead shark, three rare parrot species, and four species of sturgeon.

Petitions to End the Commercialization of Elephants.  These charismatic animals known for their massive size and intellect continue to decline in the wild. Unfortunately, they are continually exploited for entertainment and senseless products. Friends of Animals has submitted two petitions to protect elephants from this exploitation.

First, Friends of Animals submitted a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restrict the ability of U.S. zoos to import African elephants. There is overwhelming evidence that ripping elephants from their families and homes in the wild to be put on display in zoos is traumatic and detrimental to the elephants’ physical and emotional health. It also has no value for the conservation of elephants in the wild.

Second, Friends of Animals submitted a petition to update U.S. regulations that completely fail to protect elephants from a growing demand for elephant skins that is driving the animals closer to extinction. Despite nearly world-wide regulations on the trade of ivory, there is thriving illegal and legal market in elephant skins. The amount of elephant skins legally imported into the U.S. is increasing dramatically and Friends of Animals seeks to put an end to this trade immediately.

Protecting Wild Horses. The Pryor Mountain Mustangs are a unique population of wild horses with Old Spanish genetic lineage nestled between the Pryor Mountains and the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in Montana and Wyoming. However, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues to mismanage this herd and put them on a path to extinction. Friends of Animals submitted a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to get these wild horses protected under the Endangered Species Act. We have also submitted comments on BLM’s newest plan to restrict this population by removing them from the range and apply aggressive fertility controls. Read the comment letter here.

In another assault on wild horses, BLM published a plan to eliminate wild horses from herd management areas on nearly two million acres of lands in Wyoming. BLM proposes to amend a resource management plan for Rock Spring and Rawlings Field office in order to appease the interest of a few ranchers. You can read Friends of Animals comments on the serious legal and ethical problems with BLM’s proposal here.

Speaking Out Against Velella Epsilon Aquaculture Permit. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering issuing a new aquaculture facility to dump pollutants into the Gulf of Mexico. This facility is the first of its kind in the Gulf of Mexico, and too many uncertainties exists to approve this permit. Friends of Animals submitted a comment to point out risk with this facility, including the threat to endangered animals and the possibility to contribute to catastrophic outbreaks of algal blooms. Several pieces of federal legislation mandate that EPA pay attention to these issues and Friends of Animals asked EPA to further assess these areas before opening what it plans to be the first of many foreseeable aquaculture projects. Read our objections here.

Opposing a Permanent Hunting Theme for the Duck Stamp Contest. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Americans hunted multiple species of animals to extinction, and hunted others right to the brink. Laws had to be passed which prevented people from killing as many animals as they wanted. One law regarding ducks forced hunters to pay a miniscule annual fee in order to kill ducks. The duck stamp that showed hunters had paid the fee has for 80 years depicted ducks in their habitat. This year, the Fish & Wildlife Service decided to make a hunting theme on these stamps mandatory and permanent, despite an outcry from artists and others. Why is this stamp celebrating hunting, the very act that forced duck protection to become necessary? Friends of Animals submitted comments pointing out the absurdities of viewing hunting as a method of protecting duck populations from extinction. Duck Stamp Comment.

Requesting Critical Habitat for Yellow Billed Cuckoos.
As the climate in the American west becomes warmer and drier, many species struggle to adapt. The Yellow-Billed Cuckoo has lost roughly 90% of habitat that it needs to survive. This habitat loss stems from a variety of causes: invasive species, agricultural crops, conversion of land for livestock, and development. Gas and oil interests in the west hold heavy influence over what land becomes protected. Friends of Animals submitted comments to show that the Yellow Billed Cuckoo needs as much protection as possible and ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a full and thorough NEPA analysis of each designated site. Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Comment.