Challenging Washington’s Illegal Bear Hunting Regulations
Center for Biological Diversity v. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, et. al.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an amicus brief in support of a challenge to two rules promulgated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Service allowing bears to be hunted using bait, hounds, and body-gripping traps.
Oral argument is scheduled for August 31, 2020
On March 23, 2020, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an amicus brief in support of the Center for Biological Diversity’s challenge to two rules promulgated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Service allowing bears to be hunted indiscriminately using bait, hounds, and body-gripping traps.
These rules violate two voter initiatives, which banned the use of bait, dogs, and body-gripping traps except for in a few limited exceptions involving property protection or governmental use — yet the agency has ignored the laws and issued permits to anyone to take bears by these methods.
The Center for Biological Diversity’s petition is now on appeal, after being denied by the trial court. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has submitted an amicus brief that argues the agency’s action in promulgating these two rules violates the spirit and intent of the voter initiatives that effectively banned these cruel methods of hunting.
Who is being sued, why, and under what law? The Center for Biological Diversity is suing the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Service for passing two rules that allow bears to be hunted using bait, hounds, and body-gripping traps, in violation of the Washington Administrative Procedure Act. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed an amicus brief in support of the Center for Biological Diversity’s appeal of its dismissal of the lawsuit.
Why this case is important: Washington voters elected to prohibit hunters from baiting bears, using dogs to hunt bears, and allowing bear hunters to employ body-gripping traps because these methods are excessively cruel. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Service has ignored the law in promulgating rules allowing bear hunters to use these prohibited methods.
Wild animals enjoy few legal protections under either state or local laws even though wild animals experience pain and pleasure just the same as the dogs and cats who share our homes, and who enjoy far more expansive legal protections. Wild animals also play a key role in our environment and ecosystem. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is committed to pursuing stronger legal protections for wildlife, and stronger enforcement of those laws.
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