Justia U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law

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After issuing an environmental impact statement (EIS), the National Park Service adopted a plan for the management of deer in Rock Creek National Park in Washington, D.C. The plan involved the killing of white-tailed deer. Objectors argued that the plan violated statutes governing management of the Park and was not adopted in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act, and that the EIS did not meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The district court rejected the claims on summary judgment. The D.C. Circuit affirmed. Noting that the Organic Act expressly provides that the Secretary of the Interior “may also provide in his discretion for the destruction of such animals and of such plant life as may be detrimental to the use of any said parks, monuments, or reservations,” so that the agency’s interpretation of its enabling act is reasonable. Given the impact of deer on plant life and vehicle collisions, the decision is not arbitrary. Finding no violation of NEPA, the court concluded that the EIS was not required to consider the psychological harm that some visitors may suffer from simply knowing that the intentional killing of deer happens at Rock Creek Park. View "Grunewald v. Jarvis" on Justia Law

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After a three-year rulemaking process, the FWS found that, due to the effects of global climate change, the polar bear was likely to become an endangered species and faced the threat of extinction within the foreseeable future (Listing Rule). The agency thus concluded that the polar bear should be listed as a threatened species. A number of industry groups, environmental organizations, and states challenged the Listing Rule as either overly restrictive or insufficiently protective of the polar bear. After a hearing on the parties' submissions, the district court granted summary judgment to the FWS and rejected all challenges to the Listing Rule. Given the evident thoroughness and care of the agency's explanation for its decision, the court concluded that the challenges to the Listing Rule "amount to nothing more than competing views about policy and science." Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "In re: Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Listing and Section 4(d) Rule Litigation" on Justia Law

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Feld Entertainment, Inc. owned the country's largest collection of endangered Asian elephants, some of whom travel and perform with its famed Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In this case, a former barn helper with the circus and an organization dedicated to fighting exploitation of animals alleged that Feld's use of two techniques for controlling the elephants -bullhooks and chains - harmed the animals in violation of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1). The court agreed with the district court that plaintiffs failed to establish Article III standing and therefore affirmed the district court's judgment. View "ASPCA, et al. v. Feld Entertainment, Inc." on Justia Law