Citizens for the Preservation of Wildlife, Inc.
Waterfowl Rescue, Rehabilitate, and Release
JUDGE HALTS PLANNED GOOSE SLAUGHTERS IN VIRGINIA
July 6: Officials of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Citizens for the Preservation of Wildlife, Inc. (CPW), Animal Protection Institute (API), and numerous private individuals, today were pleased that U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's decision to impose apermanent injunction against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), and the Dept. of Interior, which halted a planned roundup and slaughter of Canada Geese and their goslings at 21 sites in Virginia.
District Court Judge Kollar-Kotelly ruled today on a federal lawsuit brought on by the Humane Society of the United States, Citizens for the Preservation of Wildlife, Inc. Animal Protection Institute, and numerous individuals, which asked the court to stop the scheduled slaughters on the grounds that the USDA/Wildlife Services and the US Fish & Wildlife Services had clearly violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Canada Geese are protected under provisions or treaties of the MBTA. The MBTA makes it unlawful to hunt, pursue, capture, or kill migratory birds or destroy any migratory bird nest or eggs.
"In essence, the federal court rejected the USFWS and the USDA's absurd claims that federal agencies such as themselves are not bound by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and international treaties for the protection of migratory birds and can indiscriminately kill any number of migratory birds regardless of the MBTA and international treaties," said Jonathan Lovvorn, the attorney with Meyer & Glitzenstein, who represented the plaintiffs.
At stake were not only the fates of thousands of Canada Geese, says HSUS Wildlife Attorney Patricia Lane, but the future of the MBTA itself. "When the federal government decides it does not have to abide by the letter or spirit of the rules and treaties it has itself set and negotiated, then these rules and treaties cease to have the effect of law," said Lane. "The ruling makes perfect sense. Holding the federal government accountable under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is exactly what Congress intended and is totally consistent with Supreme Court case law. When the United States signs a treaty with other nations and later tries to claim that the federal government is not bound to its provisions, its position is both legally and morally bankrupt. Judge Kollar-Kotelly has set a very significant legal precedent here."