Breaking: U.S. courts issue four wins over 48 hours against trophy hunting, state-funded wildlife killing, fur and cage confinement of factory-farmed birds

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on March 31, 2021 with 27 Comments

Animals are on a winning streak. Over just the last two days, we’ve had four terrific victories in U.S. federal courts that pave the way for progress for millions of animals. These include wildlife in the United States and overseas most often targeted by trophy hunters, animals in the fur industry, and farm animals confined in cruel cages on factory farms.

These wins are important. Many of them confront policies made by federal and state agencies that are harmful to animals and the environment and force these agencies to act with greater transparency toward the American public and the spending of their taxpayer dollars. It is also heartening to see our courts issue rulings that are in tune with the vast majority of Americans who express a clear distaste for practices like factory farming and trophy hunting, and unnecessary commodities like fur.

Following are more details on the individual cases:

  • USFWS blackout of trophy hunting data: On Monday, a federal judge in the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can no longer withhold critical data on U.S. imports of hunting trophies and other wildlife parts and products from the public. HSI filed the case in 2016, after the Fish and Wildlife Service suddenly began redacting huge swaths of data in response to public records requests, leaving the American public in the dark on the role that the U.S. plays in global trophy hunting and the wildlife trade. Following Monday’s decision, the agency will have to turn over the records, which we rely heavily on to petition for increased protections for species on the brink of extinction, such as African elephants, giraffes and pangolins. The U.S imports more animal trophies than any other country, and it is a leading destination for trafficked wildlife body parts.
  • San Francisco’s history-making fur ban: On Tuesday afternoon, a federal court dismissed the fur industry’s legal challenge to San Francisco’s pathbreaking ordinance banning fur product sales. The HSUS had intervened to defend the ordinance and successfully dismissed the fur industry’s challenge to the ban last summer, but the industry sought to keep the case alive by tacking on new (and equally meritless) legal arguments. Yesterday’s opinion not only shuts the door on this case, it also builds on a growing body of precedent affirming the right of cities and states around the country to prohibit the local sale of fur and other cruel animal products. HSUS attorneys partnered with pro bono counsel from Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila on the case.
  • Colorado’s state-sponsored wildlife carnage: Also on Tuesday, a Colorado federal judge ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to consider the environmental impacts of spending millions of taxpayer dollars on cruel wildlife killing experiments conducted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Colorado set out to kill hundreds of mountain lions and dozens of black bears in a scientifically unsupported attempt to boost local mule deer populations to benefit trophy hunters. In the past few years, Colorado drastically increased its hunting quotas to implement the experiment, leading to an all-out slaughter of the state’s mountain lion population. Federal Wildlife Services agents were also deployed to kill animals using extremely cruel methods such as traps, snares and hounds. Killing mountain lions, especially at these high rates, causes increased conflicts with humans, pets and livestock. Yesterday’s ruling will halt the use of federal taxpayer dollars – which account for more than 75% of the program’s funding – to pay for this state-sponsored slaughter.
  • USDA’s dangerous bird flu response plan: We reported yesterday on another important win, this time in a federal court in California, in our lawsuit against USDA’s dangerous bird flu response plan, which essentially subsidizes intensive confinement practices at factory farms. The court refused a USDA attempt to dismiss the case and gave our lawsuit the green light to proceed.

These are phenomenal victories against special interests with deep pockets who spend millions of dollars each year attempting to stop the progress we make for animals, so they can continue their exploitative practices. They would not be possible without the expertise and talent of our in-house team of lawyers, who, working with leading law firms and coalition partners, are on the job every day. As we celebrate these victories today, we applaud them for their hard work and for their commitment to protecting animals from those who seek to hurt them.

Sara Amundson is president of Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Farm Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Jeane Camargo da Silva says:

    Que notícia maravilhosa!

  2. Richard A Etts says:

    I am glad that some of these issues are being dealt with. I will say up front, I am an active outdoorsman. I do hunt, trap, and fish in my home state. I also follow all laws and regulations set forth by my state DNR. I have no desire to travel to another continent to hunt or fish for anything. I have no problem with people wearing fur clothing or empliments, I do have a problem with how some parts of the fur industry are ran.

  3. Dave says:

    God Bless you angels and keep up the good work. All animals are sentient beings. A society is judged by its compassion for its animals…

    • Laura says:

      Bravo Dave! I’ve been saying that for years now. Gandhi also said something very similar. Your in good company. Laura

  4. Mike ciocci says:

    FINALLY!!! Finally the will of the people has been heard. This is a long time coming.
    Now, if we can only put a stop to trapping. The most horrible and barbaric tactic for killing our wildlife. We as a society should also put a stop to the housing and treatment of all animals on our factory farms. These farm animals desperately need our help too.
    The 6th extinction is upon us all, thanks to man , ( men in particular) and because of that we should be preserving our worlds animals.

  5. Danielle Schneider says:

    It is about time! Well past time for these actions.
    Thank you to all the fearless, compassionate judges. Live long and prosper.
    Let us look forward to more humane and much needed decisions.

  6. Johanna Pizzo says:

    AWESOME Victories for the VOICELESS!!!! 9

  7. Samantha Norton says:

    Thank you. Finally. Protection for our fellow creatures. Ihave been an outspoken opponent of the fur industry foe forever. And for the constant cruelty and ignorance of state and federal governments in the treatment of the non-human people we share the Earth with. 😊💝

  8. Tyrone Martinez says:

    I’m really thrilled for you and for animales!

  9. Liz Aiello says:

    Yaay! It’s long overdue. Thanks for all you do for animals around the world.

  10. Vivienne Parker says:

    I applaud and stand behind the HSUS legal battle against government agencies’ policies that have been thwarting the will of the American people to end these practices towards animals, and which disregard the many negative consequences. It is time to remove decision making powered from those who have shown they care nothing for animals.

  11. Lorraine LaPrade says:


  12. . says:

    How does “Killing mountain lions, especially at these high rates, causes increased conflicts with humans, pets and livestock” Isn’t that part of wildlife management, decreasing a population? Especially when increased encounters with humans and pets come into play. What is considered to be high rates?

    • Blog Editor says:

      Thanks so much for reaching out. That’s an excellent question and one that mountain lion researchers are still trying to better understand. What we do know is that research is that conflicts with mountain lions (aka cougars) is positively related to the hunting of these cats. While wildlife managers typically think that reducing mountain lion populations will reduce conflicts, the best available research shows that this really isn’t the case. More hunting may lead to increased conflicts because it alters their very sensitive social structures. For example, when large, territorial male mountain lions are killed (the ones typically sought after by trophy hunters), that leaves their territory open to younger lions. These younger lions are less experienced with hunting natural prey, and may be more likely to go after easier prey like livestock. Additionally, if a female mountain lion who is still caring for dependent young is killed, her young may have not yet fully learned the life skills they need to hunt natural prey and avoid human communities. When conflicts do occur, they are typically with these younger, less experienced mountain lions. While wildlife managers in Washington suggest hunting be limited to no more than 14% of the mountain lion population, the loss of just one adult male or female lion can have these negative ramifications. Here are some additional resources you may find useful, and we are happy to provide any additional information if you have other questions:

      Hunting as a management tool? Cougar-human conflict is positively related to trophy hunting

      Study: Cougar Hunting Doesn’t Reduce Human-Cougar Interactions Or Livestock Attacks

  13. Marietta says:

    People pls leave animals alone

  14. Suzie says:

    These efforts are a wonderful improvement and, hopefully, will end some of the atrocious animal suffering. The Government needs to vote their selves out of the animal torture labs that they heavily fund. Thousands of cats, dogs, rats, and whatever, are tortured in Government run labs every year for many needless “experiments”. This is nothing more than a group of animal abusers whom have found a way to legally abuse animals and get a paycheck for the abuse. Just sick!

  15. Miranda Margaret says:

    Bravo!!!! HSUS and HSI. I am a supporter of your efforts and a donner. Keep up the good work against those monsters that murder our fellow animal beings which we love …I will forever applaud your efforts and always support you
    till the day I die .
    Thank you ❤️
    Margaret Miranda

  16. William Lehrter says:

    This article is full if hyperbole and emotional arguments. Wildlife management is best done by trained biologists, not by special interest lawsuits. An “all out slaughter of the states mountain lions” is a laughable notion. The Colorado mountain lion population is doing just fine.

    • Johnny Cash says:

      The notion of wildlife management is laughable, narcissistic, and ethnocentric. Maybe try to think beyond humans as the center of the word. You might enjoy it and even find that there’s more to the world that’s you.

  17. isabella says:

    These are huge victories for the animals!!! and for everyone advocating on their behalf. Kudos to the legal teams!!❤️🐾 Let’s keep up the momentum.

  18. Lampton says:

    Hallelujah! Little by little the torture that has gone on for centuries to every species on our continent will one day end. This news is exciting to say the least! Praises to the judge’s to consider and make the morally right decision. I know there’s so much more to do in regards to our world wide animals welfare. This IS the beginning! Thank you!

  19. Deborah Stewart says:

    This is great news,but we still have a long way to go to end the suffering of animals.
    We treat animals with such little regard when the truth is that they are here for their own reasons,not to be exploited,hunted,trapped,worn or eaten.

  20. Laura Congdon says:

    Thank you Humane society Great job! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to animals. Animals are helpless and voiceless and need everyone to stand up and be their voice and you have been that voice for those who can’t speak for theirselves. Animals have always been a high light of my life. I just had to put my beloved dog, Milo to sleep as he had become very ill and very quickly. We are talking about getting another rescue real soon. Thank you for everything you do.

  21. Denise Gurgens says:

    Thank you for your tireless
    efforts to save and protect
    animals hunted as trophies and government funded lab animals treated cruelly and killed. I support adoption of retired lab animals. I will continue to support your efforts. This is a joyful day I feared I would never see!!!!

  22. Diana Lewis says:

    I’ve become disheartened with the pervasively global abuse of animals! I’m deeply grateful for the hope you have given us to living in a more humane environment.

  23. Theresa Gernenz says:

    Its about time were finally going to do something about killing or cruelty against innocent animals. Its gone on for two long.

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