Appellate Court Ruling Sends Animal Rights Groups Back to the Starting Gate

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On Wednesday, February 19, 2014, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling, dismissing a lawsuit filed by WildEarth Guardians (WEG) concerning trapping in the Mexican experimental wolf recovery zone.  WEG’s suit claimed New Mexico state officials had violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by authorizing trapping in the area designated for Mexican wolf recovery.  The New Mexico District Court dismissed the case, in part because ESA take prohibitions do not apply to experimental populations like the Mexican wolf. WEG’s subsequent appeal to the Tenth Circuit failed.  After oral argument, the Tenth Circuit issued a short opinion declaring that WEG lacked standing to pursue its claims and dismissing the appeal.  Unfortunately, WEG’s loss is not all good news. Although the Court’s ruling represents a win for New Mexico and for SCI and the other sportsmen groups that joined to defend, the dismissal of the case is “without prejudice.” The ruling will allow WEG to file a brand new suit that could attempt to fix the errors that caused the original case to fail. SCI will be prepared to again participate to defend the interests of hunters.

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