Elephants or Ivory: Related Cases
|American Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. Feld Entertainment, Inc.
|677 F.Supp.2d 55, 2009 WL 5159752 (D.D.C., 2009)
This opinion represents the nine-year culmination of litigation brought by plaintiff Tom Rider and Animal Protection Institute (API) against Defendant Feld Entertainment, Inc. (“FEI”) - the operator of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey traveling circus. Plaintiffs alleged that defendant's use of bullhooks and prolonged periods of chaining with respect to its circus elephants violates the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1531, et seq. This Court held that plaintiffs failed to establish standing under Article III of the United States Constitution and entered judgment in favor of defendants. Since the Court concluded that plaintiffs lack standing, it did not reach the merits of plaintiffs' allegations that FEI “takes” its elephants in violation of Section 9 of the ESA.
|American Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. Feld Entertainment, Inc.
|659 F.3d 13 (C.A.D.C., 2011)
The Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, affirmed the lower court's finding that plaintiffs lack standing to sue Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for violation of the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that the use of two training methods for controlling elephants, bullhooks and chaining, constitute a "taking" under the Act. Here, the court found no clear error by the district court as to former employee Tom Rider's standing to sue where Rider's testimony did not prove an injury-in-fact. As to API's standing, the court held that API did not meet either informational standing or standing under a Havens test.
|American Society For Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
|246 F.R.D. 39 (D.D.C.,2007)
In this case, the court considered the parties’ respective motions for reconsideration. On August 23, 2007, the Court granted summary judgment to defendant as to elephants subject to a captive-bred wildlife (“CBW”) permit and denied summary judgment as to elephants for which defendant claimed a “pre-Act” exemption. Defendant has filed a motion for reconsideration challenging the Court's decision regarding the “pre-Act” elephants and plaintiff has filed a motion for reconsideration challenging the Court's decision regarding the CBW permit elephants. Defendant’s motion was granted in part as to the standing of plaintiff, Tom Rider. The court held that Rider’s standing is now limited to those six elephants to which he became “emotionally attached.” Notably, the court ended its opinion with a “hint to the wise” that the court will not tolerate any further filings inconsistent with FRCP.
|American Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals v. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
|2008 WL 3411666 (D.D.C.)
On Plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery from Defendants, The United States District Court, District of Columbia, determined that “master schedules” and “performance reports” were not documents pertaining to the chaining of elephants, and/or describing practices and procedures for maintaining elephants on the train, and Plaintiffs were therefore not entitled to such documents. The Court could not determine whether certain audio tapes demanded by Plaintiffs pertained to the medical condition or health status of any Asian elephants in Defendants’ custody during a specified time-frame, or pertained to the investigation of Defendants’ operation conducted by the Department of Agriculture, without being given the opportunity to listen to and review the audio tapes. Plaintiffs’ mere speculation that Defendants hired an outside consulting firm to follow and/or counteract a previous employee’s efforts did not entitle Plaintiffs to any further judicial action.
|American Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals, v. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
|502 F.Supp.2d 103 (D.D.C., 2007)
|Plaintiffs-ASPCA filed suit against Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Feld Entertainment, Inc, under the citizen-suit provision of the Endangered Species Act. Plaintiffs allege that FEI routinely beats elephants, chains them for long periods of time, hits them with sharp bull hooks, breaks baby elephants with force to make them submissive, and forcibly removes baby elephants from their mothers before they are weaned. This conduct, plaintiffs contend, violates the "take" provision of the ESA. In the court's opinion regarding defendants' motion for summary judgment, the court held that the pre-Act exemption does not insulate defendant from claims of taking under the ESA. However, the court found that the captive-bred wildlife (CBW) permit held by defendant does not allow for challenge under a citizen-suit provision.
|Art and Antique Dealers of Am., Inc. v. Seggos
|--- F.Supp.3d ----, 2019 WL 3817305 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 14, 2019)
|The plaintiffs are trade organizations representing arts and antique dealers. Plaintiff’s members have an “economic and professional interest in. . .the purchase, sale, distribution or trading of antique elephant ivory.” The Defendant is the Commissioner of DEC which is a state agency tasked with protecting New York’s natural resources and environment. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) prohibits the import and export of endangered species and the sale, offering for sale, or movement of endangered species in interstate or foreign commerce. The prohibitions, however, had exceptions for “antique articles” that are 100 years of age or older. Those wishing to import such antique articles needed to first obtain a federal permit. Under the regulations promulgated by the Secretary of the Interior, trade of African elephant ivory is generally prohibited. Only certain items containing a de minimus quantity of ivory are exempt. The state of New York imposed a ban on elephant ivory with even narrower exceptions than the ESA. The DEC only issued licenses authorizing trade in ivory pursuant to the State Ivory Law’s exceptions. The licenses actually issued by the DEC restricted the advertisement and display of ivory products. Plaintiff’s filed this action challenging the constitutionality of the State Ivory Law on preemption and First Amendment grounds. The Plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment and the Defendants and Intervenors crossed-moved to dismiss. The Court examined the ESA and determined that section 1535(f) did not preempt the State Ivory Law because the ESA prohibitions only applied to interstate or foreign commerce while the State Ivory Law applied to intrastate commerce. As result, the exceptions contained in the State Ivory Law did not prohibit what was authorized by the ESA. The Court granted the Defendant’s motion to dismiss on Count I because it was not “the clear and manifest purpose of Congress to preempt state laws restricting purely intrastate commerce in ivory.” The Plaintiff’s second count alleged that the State Ivory Law’s permit requirement violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The display restriction in the license prohibited the physical display for sale of any item not authorized for intrastate sale under the State Ivory Law even if the merchant was authorized under the ESA to sell the item in interstate commerce. The Court determined that the in-store display of ivory products constituted commercial speech because the display constituted lawful activity, New York had a substantial interest in regulating the sale of ivory within its borders and the display restriction directly advanced that interest. The Court was unable to determine whether the display restriction burdened substantially more speech than was necessary to further the government’s legitimate interests. Ultimately the Court granted the Defendant’s and Intervenor’s cross-motions to dismiss with respect to preemption and denied both the Defendant’s and Plaintiff’s motions for summary judgment with respect to the First Amendment Claim.
|ASSOCIACAO SANTUARIO DE ELEFANTES BRASIL
|This case from Brazil concerns the elephant named "Ramba." Ramba is a former circus elephant who spent more than 30 years at circuses in Chile and Argentina. On October 18, 2019, she arrived at Santuário de Elefantes do Brasil (Brazil Elephants Sanctuary) after a 73 hour trip all the way from Chile. Before Ramba was transferred, Judge Leonísio Salles de Abreu Junior, from the 1st Civil Court at Chapada dos Guimarães, the region where the sanctuary is located in Mato Grosso , Brazil, made a ruling changing her status from a mere "good." The judge prohibited the local Government from charging the sanctuary R$ 50.000 (approximately US $ 13.00) in a tax on movement of goods finding that Ramba is not a thing, and is not a subject to importation good tax. According to an article at https://www.ambientesecom.net/2019/10/24/groundbreaking-decision-of-brazilian-judge-for-captive-elephant, the judge said further, "Her position, far from being a commodity (as she was in the life of exploitation to what she was submitted to by her former owners), is now that of a guest, who seeks for a new destination on the margins of what human evil has already caused her." Attached case is in Portuguese.
|Born Free USA v. Norton
|278 F. Supp 2d 5 (D.D.C. 2003)
The zoo sought to import wild elephants from a foreign country, but advocates contended that the officials did not follow CITES properly for the import. The court held that the advocates failed to show a likelihood of success to warrant preliminary injunctive relief, since no overall detriment to the species was shown.
|Dallas Safari Club v. Bernhardt
|453 F. Supp. 3d 391 (D.D.C. 2020)
|Individual elephant sport hunters and their hunting organizations (“Plaintiffs”) filed suit against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) seeking to import their sport-hunted elephant trophies from Africa into the United States. The Plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction requiring the Service to process pending and subsequently filed permit applications. The African Elephant is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and is also a species that is regulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (“CITES”). All African elephant trophy imports require the Service to make an enhancement finding, meaning that the killing of the trophy animal will enhance the survival of the species, and issue an ESA permit. Additionally, certain African elephant trophy imports require a non-detriment finding and a CITES import permit. Historically, the Service made periodic countrywide enhancement and non-detriment findings, however, this came to a halt due to a Presidential tweet surrounding media criticism over the Service’s decision to lift the suspension on Zimbabwe’s ESA enhancement finding. The Court found that injunctive relief was not warranted because the Plaintiffs failed to show irreparable harm as to any Plaintiff. The individual Plaintiffs argued that they had suffered both emotional harm and economic harm. However, the Plaintiffs were on notice that their applications could take a significant amount of time to process. Additionally, the emotional distress claimed by the Plaintiffs would be alleviated when the Service issues a decision either granting or denying their permit applications, therefore, the harm that the Plaintiffs were claiming was not irreparable. The Court found that the individual hunter Plaintiffs’ alleged emotional and economic injuries were insufficient to warrant a preliminary injunction. The organizational Plaintiffs argued that they each were suffering irreparable harm derivatively because the Service’s delay in processing permit applications would decrease the popularity of sport hunting in Africa and cause a decrease in funding for conservation efforts. The problem was that the organizational Plaintiffs offered no proof to substantiate this argument. The Court ultimately held that in light of the disruptions caused by COVID-19 and the diminished capacity of the Service to process permit applications during this unprecedented time, it would be unwise and not in the public interest to order the expeditious processing of sport trophy permit applications. The Court denied Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.
|Elephant, Inc. v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co.
|239 So.2d 692 (La.App., 1970)
A veterinarian agreed to house, transport, and care for an elephant at no charge other than the actual expenses incurred therewith. One evening, the elephant ingested some poison left in its stall by the veterinarian and later died. On appeal of the trial court award to plaintiff, the Court disagreed with defendant’s contention that he, as a gratuitous depositary, could only be held liable for gross negligence, willful misconduct, or fraud. In fact, the civil code in Louisiana, states the burden of a depositary is "that of ordinary care which may be expected of a prudent man." However, an agreement between the parties was found to release Dr. Cane of liability from negligent acts.
|Feld Entertainment, Inc. v. A.S.P.C.A.
|523 F.Supp.2d 1 (D.D.C., 2007)
Pending before the Court is Defendant American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, et al.'s (“ASPCA”) Motion to Temporarily Stay All Proceedings. The suit arises from Feld Entertainment, Inc. (“FEI”) claim against the ASPCA and other defendants, including Tom Rider, alleging violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”). The gravamen of plaintiff's complaint is that defendant Tom Rider has been bribed by the organizational defendants to participate in the ESA Action against FEI in violation of federal law. The court agreed that the public interest in the ESA claim weighs in favor of granting the temporary stay.
|Fortgang v. Woodland Park Zoo
|387 P.3d 690 (Wash. Jan. 12, 2017)
To address the Zoo's growing size and complexity, Defendant Woodland Park Zoo Society (WPZS) entered into an “Operations and Management Agreement” (Agreement) with the City of Seattle. The Agreement gave WPZS exclusive rights and responsibilities regarding many areas such as the care, sale, and purchase of the Zoo's animals. The Agreement also contained several provisions addressing public oversight of the Zoo. Plaintiff Alyne Fortgang requested several categories of records, all pertaining to the Zoo's elephants. She filed the request under the Public Records Act (PRA), which requires every government agency to make records available for public inspection and copying. The Zoo's director of Communications and Public Affairs responded to Fortgang's request by asserting that the PRA did not apply because WPZS was a private company. Fortgang filed a lawsuit and alleged that WPZS violated the PRA by refusing to disclose certain records. The trial court granted WPZS's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the action on the ground that WPZS was not an agency subject to PRA disclosure requirements. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court of Washington affirmed the Court of Appeals and held that the Telford test was the proper analytical framework for evaluating the private entity’s disclosure requirement. The Supreme Court reasoned that under the Telford analysis, WPZS was not the functional equivalent of a government agency. The court stated that although the second Telford factor was inconclusive, all the other factors weighed against PRA coverage: (1) WPZS did not perform an inherently governmental function by operating the Zoo; (2) the City did not exercise sufficient control over the Zoo's daily operations to implicate PRA concerns; (3) WPZS was created solely by private individuals and not government action and (4) because operating a zoo is not a nondelegable, “core” government function, the case did not involve the privatization of fundamentally public services. The Court of Appeals' decision was affirmed.
|H.J. Justin & Sons, Inc. v. Brown
|519 F. Supp. 1383 (E.D. Cal. 1981), aff'd in part, rev'd in part sub nom. H.J. Justin & Sons, Inc. v. Deukmejian, 702 F.2d 758 (9th Cir. 1983)
|In this case, plaintiff filed suit challenging the California Penal Code, specifically sections 653o and 653r. Plaintiff manufactured boots from the hides of animals, including the hides of the African elephant, the Indonesian python, and the Wallaby kangaroo. Section 653o and 653r of the California Penal Code prevented plaintiff from selling his boots in California because the provisions forbid the sale of products made from dead bodies, or any part of the elephant, python, or kangaroo. Plaintiff challenged these provisions arguing that the provisions were preempted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, thus making the provisions unconstitutional. The plaintiff also argued that the provisions were unconstitutional because of the burden placed on interstate commerce which violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Ultimately, the court held that the provisions of the California Penal Code were not unconstitutional and dismissed plaintiff’s claim. The court looked to whether or not the provisions were expressly or impliedly preempted and determined that because the provisions were not expressly preempted the court needed to do an analysis of implied preemption. Looking to legislative history, the court found that Congress did not intend to preempt the provisions of the California Penal Code with the enactment of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Lastly, the court held that the California statue was not a burden on interstate commerce because Congress was aware of the existence of the California provisions and decided that the Endangered Species Act would not affect the California provisions. As a result, the court dismissed plaintiff’s claim and held for the defendant.
|Ivory Education Institute v. Department of Fish and Wildlife
|28 Cal. App. 5th 975 (Ct. App. 2018), as modified (Nov. 5, 2018), review denied (Jan. 16, 2019)
|The Legislature passed Assembly Bill 96 which took effect July 1, 2016 as Fish & Game Code section 2022. The bill imposed new restrictions on the sale and importation of ivory and rhinoceros horn. The Ivory Education (the Institute) sued the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (the Department) in order to block implementation of the law. The institute alleged that the statute was unconstitutional on multiple grounds including vagueness, federal preemption, the takings clause, and the commerce clause. The trial court entered judgment for the Department and the intervenor defendants (the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Humane Society of the United States, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Wildlife Conservation Society). The Institute appealed and abandoned all other issues raised and limited its challenge to the void-for-vagueness doctrine. "The Institute contend[ed] that section 2022 [was] unconstitutionally vague for two reasons: 1) while it allows for the sale or import of ivory insofar as it is allowed by federal law, differences in what federal law allows make it nearly impossible to tell what would qualify for the exemption provided by section 2022(c)(c); and 2) there are no guidelines by which to determine the permissible volume of ivory in either musical instruments or antiques." The Court of Appeals stated that a statute is not vague if its meaning can be determined by looking at other sources of information. Those who wish to comply with section 2022 have a duty to locate and examine statutes or whatever else necessary to determine the scope of the exemption provision. "Section 2022 has a single purpose—to prevent the sale or importation of ivory and rhinoceros horn. Both of those terms are defined. The Institute has 'not demonstrated that attempts to give substance and meaning' to the three disputed exceptions 'would be fruitless.'" As for the Institute's second contention, the Court of Appeals stated that because musical instruments and antiques are tangible objects that occupy a verifiable amount of three-dimensional space, the percentage of any such object that has ivory in it can be readily determined. The Court of Appeals held that the statute was not vague. The Court affirmed the holding of the trial court.
|Leider v. Lewis
|2 Cal. 5th 1121, 394 P.3d 1055 (2017)
|The Plaintiffs, Residents of Los Angeles, brought a taxpayer action against the Defendants, the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Zoo, alleging elephant abuse in violation of various Penal Code provisions. The Superior Court, Los Angeles County, granted the Defendants summary judgment. The Residents appealed. At trial, the Residents were awarded injunctive and declaratory relief. The Court of Appeals reversed. On remand, the trial court rejected many of the Resident’s claims, but issued limited injunctions prohibiting use of particular forms of discipline, requiring the elephants to have specific amounts of exercise time, and requiring the rototilling of soil in exhibit. Both parties appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court of California granted review and reversed the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court held that: (1) the prior Court of Appeals decision was not law of the case as to the argument that the Residents was precluded from obtaining injunctive relief for conduct that violated Penal Code, and (2) the Residents' challenge to the city's treatment of elephants improperly sought injunctive relief for Penal Code violations.
|Leider v. Lewis
|243 Cal. App. 4th 1078 (Cal. 2016)
|Plaintiffs, taxpayers Aaron Leider and the late Robert Culp, filed suit against the Los Angeles Zoo and Director Lewis to enjoin the continued operation of the elephant exhibit and to prevent construction of a new, expanded exhibit. Plaintiffs contend that the Zoo's conduct violates California animal cruelty laws and constitutes illegal expenditure of public funds and property. The case went to trial and the trial court issued limited injunctions relating to forms of discipline for the elephants, exercise time, and rototilling of the soil in the exhibit. On appeal by both sides, this court first took up whether a taxpayer action could be brought for Penal Code violations or to enforce injunctions. The Court held that the earlier Court of Appeals' decision was the law of the case as to the argument that the plaintiff-taxpayer was precluded from obtaining injunctive relief for conduct that violated the Penal Code. The Court found the issue was previously decided and "is not defeated by raising a new argument that is essentially a twist on an earlier unsuccessful argument." Further, refusing to apply this Civil Code section barring injunctions for Penal Code violations will not create a substantial injustice. The Court also found the order to rototill the soil was proper because it accords with the "spirit and letter" of Penal Code section 597t (a law concerning exercise time for confined animals). As to whether the exhibit constituted animal cruelty under state law, the Court found no abuse of discretion when the trial court declined to make such a finding. Finally, the Court upheld the lower court's ruling that declined further injunctive relief under section 526a (a law that concerns actions against state officers for injuries to public property) because the injury prong could not be satisfied. As stated by the Court, "We agree with the trial court that there is no standard by which to measure this type of harm in order to justify closing a multi-million dollar public exhibit."
|Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. ex rel. Beulah v. R.W. Commerford & Sons, Inc.
|2017 WL 7053738 (Not Reported in A.3d) (Conn. Super. Ct. Dec. 26, 2017)
|In this case the petitioner, Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc., sought a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of three elephants, Beulah, Minnie, and Karen, which are owned by the respondents, R.W. Commerford & Sons, Inc. and William R. Commerford, as president of R.W. Commerford & Sons, Inc. The issue was whether the court should grant the petition for writ of habeas corpus because the elephants are “persons” entitled to liberty and equality for the purposes of habeas corpus. The court denied the petition on the ground that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction (because the plaintiffs lacked standing) and the petition was wholly frivolous on its face in legal terms (elephants are not "persons" according to the court). The court he court dismissed the petition for writ of habeas, but pointed to the state's anti-cruelty laws "as a potential alternative method of ensuring the well-being of any animal."
|Nonhuman Rts. Project, Inc. v. Breheny
|197 N.E.3d 921, reargument denied, 39 N.Y.3d 967, 200 N.E.3d 121 (2022)
|This New York case centers on a petition of habeas corpus for an elephant named "Happy" who is housed at the Bronx Zoo. Petitioner Nonhuman Rights Project is a not-for-profit corporation with a mission of seeking to establish that “at least some nonhuman animals” are “legal persons” entitled to fundamental rights, including “bodily integrity and bodily liberty.” In 2018, petitioner commenced this habeas proceeding in Supreme Court against respondents James J. Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, the organization that operates the Zoo. Petitioner sought a writ of habeas corpus “on behalf of Happy,” an Asian elephant that petitioner claimed was unlawfully confined at the Zoo in violation of her right to bodily liberty. Happy has resided at the Bronx Zoo for the last 45 years and has been held in captivity since she was approximately one year old. Petitioners request that she be transferred to an “appropriate sanctuary" where she could potentially be integrated with other elephants. To support its request, petitioner proffered affidavits from several experts specializing in elephant study and care attesting to the general characteristics of elephants. The Zoo respondents opposed petitioner's application and requested dismissal of the petition for lack of standing and failure to state a cause of action. Specifically, respondents argued that there was no legal basis for habeas relief and that Happy's living conditions comply with all relevant laws and accepted standards of care. The Supreme Court dismissed the petition on the ground “that animals are not ‘persons’ entitled to rights and protections afforded by the writ of habeas corpus” and that habeas relief is not available for an animal. On petitioner's appeal, the Appellate Division unanimously affirmed, reasoning that “the writ of habeas corpus is limited to human beings.” While the court acknowledged that the law recognizes that animals are not mere "things," and existing animal protection laws underscore this conclusion, the scope of habeas corpus does not include animals. The court lastly noted that " this case has garnered extraordinary interest from amici curiae and the public . . . Though beyond the purview of the courts, we appreciate that the desire and ability of our community to engage in a continuing dialogue regarding the protection and welfare of nonhuman animals is an essential characteristic of our humanity. Such dialogue, however, should be directed to the legislature." As such, the order of the Appellate Division was affirmed
|Pearson v Janlin Circuses Pty Ltd
| NSWSC 1118
The defendant deprived an elephant in a circus of contact with other elephants for years. On a particular day, the defendant authorised three other elephants to be kept in the proximity of the elephant for a number of hours. It was claimed that this act constituted an act of cruelty as it caused distress to the elephant. On appeal, it was determined that mens rea was not an element of a cruelty offence under the statute.
|Re The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Australia) Pty Ltd and Ors and Minister for Environment and Heritage
|(2006) 42 AAR 262
Zoos in New South Wales and Victoria sought to import five Asian elephants. After an initial hearing, further evidence was sought in relation to the condition and nature of the facilities at the zoos. The Tribunal decided that the importation of the elephants should be in accordance with a permit issued under s 303CG of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).
|Reece v. Edmonton (City)
|335 DLR (4th) 600; 513 AR 199;  CarswellAlta 1349; 530 WAC 199
|This case dealt with the procedure the applicants used to get their claim heard by the court. The respondent City holds a licence under the Wildlife Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. W‑10 to operate a zoo, which houses a lone Asian elephant named Lucy. The appellants commenced this action by originating notice for an order. The chambers judge concluded that the proceedings were an abuse of process because a private litigant cannot seek a declaration that the respondent is in breach of a penal provision in a statute, namely that the elephant was kept in distress because of health concerns. Alternatively, he concluded that the application should have been brought by way of statement of claim, not originating notice. Further, the chambers judge concluded that the appellants had no private interest standing, and that there were barriers to them being awarded public interest standing. On appeal, the parties raised two issues: (1) whether the chambers judge erred in denying the appellants standing to seek a declaration; and (2) whether the chambers judge erred in concluding that the proceedings were an abuse of process. This court held that the chambers judge came to the correct conclusion that these proceedings are an abuse of process. APPEAL DISMISSED.
|Rowley v. City of New Bedford
|333 F.Supp.3d 30 (D. Mass. Sept. 25, 2018)
|This opinion concerns the City of New Bedford, Massachusetts' motion to dismiss plaintiff Rowley's (formerly plaintiff "Friends of Ruth & Emily, Inc.") citizen suit for injunction under the federal Endangered Species Act. Plaintiffs allege that two Asian Elephants, Ruth and Emily, were mistreated by the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford by chaining their legs, housing them in inadequate facilities, failing to provide proper socialization, and failing to provide adequate veterinary care, which gives rise to a "taking" under Section 9 of the ESA. Rowley claims that she is a member of the zoological society there and visits the elephants on a "near daily basis," resulting in “an aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual relationship with Ruth and Emily over the years.” The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts asked both parties to brief on the issue of standing for the instant action. The court first noted that the ESA expressly authorizes citizen suits for injunctive relief. To survive a motion to dismiss, Rowley must, through facts, clearly demonstrate standing, and then the court must analyze those facts under a multi-pronged approach. To begin, the court distinguished cases that established the proper "animal nexus" for injury in fact with those that did not meet that finding. Here, Rowley's complaint established injury in fact because she lives in New Bedford, is a member of the Zoo's Zoological Society, and observes the elephants on a near daily basis. Rowley alleges that the maltreatment of Ruth and Emily injures this ability because she observes their ongoing suffering while in substandard captivity. The court was not persuaded by New Bedford's claim that Rowley has not established injury in fact because she has no specialized training in wildlife or animal welfare. In fact, this claim ignored precedent from this very circuit that "aesthetic injury" can be established by viewing animals in inhumane conditions. In addition, the court rejected New Bedford's "nonexistent requirement into the injury in fact analysis" that Rowley must have observed or will observe Asian elephants in their native habitats. As a result, the court found Rowley properly established injury in fact. As to the next requirement of causation, the court found that Rowley sufficiently alleged that the Zoo's actions caused the harm complained of for purposes of surviving a motion to dismiss. Finally, as to redressability, the court found that Rowley's request for a declaratory judgment as to the Zoo's treatment of Ruth and Emily, and an injunction prohibiting the Zoo from euthanizing the elephants met this prong. New Bedford's contention that Rowley's further suggestion of moving the elephants to a sanctuary in Tennessee impaired her redressability argument because Rowley did not propose how the cost of relocation would be funded was also rejected. At this stage, the court does not need to determine whether this solution is necessary or feasible. The District Court ultimately held that Rowley demonstrated sufficient standing to pursue her claims. Hence, New Bedford's motion to dismiss was denied.
|Safari Club International v. Jewell
|213 F. Supp. 3d 48 (D.D.C. 2016)
|Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association filed suit challenging the federal government’s suspension of imports of trophies from elephants sport-hunted in Zimbabwe. In April of 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“the Service”) suspended imports of trophies from elephants on the basis that the Service could no longer make the finding required under its regulations “that the killing of the animal whose trophy is intended for import would enhance survival of the species.” Safari Club asserted four main arguments against the Service’s suspension of imports: (1) the agency violated APA rulemaking requirements by not providing for notice and comment; (2) the agency applied prohibited guidelines and the wrong standard in making its findings; (3) the agency failed to overcome a statutory presumption in Section 9(c)(a) of the Endangered Species Act; and (4) the agency violated the APA by failing to explain why it maintained the enhancement finding requirement in the Special Rule after the requirement was eliminated from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The court reviewed Safari International’s arguments and granted summary judgment only with respect to the argument that the Service had failed to publish notice of the changed Zimbabwe enhancement finding in the Federal Register until May 12, 2014. The court dismissed the remaining arguments put forth by Safari International and granted summary judgment in favor of the Service. The court found that the Service had violated its commitment to publish any notice of a change in the Federal Register before the change can take effect. The Service violated this commitment by publishing notice of the suspension of imports of trophies in the Federal Register on May 12, 2014 but making the effective date of the suspension April 4, 2014. For this reason, the court found that the effective date of the suspension must be changed to May 12, 2014. With respect to Safari International’s other arguments, the court found that Safari International was unable to meet its burden and held in favor of the Service.
|Safari Club International v. Zinke
|878 F.3d 316 (D.C. Cir. 2017)
|This case dealt with an action brought by an organization of safari hunters and firearm advocacy association under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS), challenging the decision to suspend imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies from Zimbabwe. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia entered summary judgment in FWS's favor, and the organization and association appealed. Under the ESA, sport-hunted African elephant trophies may only be imported into the United States if, among other things, the FWS makes “[a] determination ... that the killing of the trophy animal will enhance the survival of the species”. The Court of Appeals held that 1) FWS's interpretation of Special Rule forbidding import of sport-hunted elephant trophies was permissible; 2) FWS could base finding that killing of African elephants did not enhance species' survival on absence of evidence that sport hunting enhanced survival of species; 3) FWS's conclusion that it lacked evidence to make finding that killing African elephants in Zimbabwe would enhance survival of species rebutted any presumption that importation did not violate any provision of ESA or regulation issued pursuant to ESA; 4) removal of enhancement requirement from Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora did not require FWS to reconsider Special Rule; 5) finding constituted rule rather than adjudication; and 6) FWS's failure to engage in notice-and-comment prior to finding was not harmless error. Affirmed in part and reversed in part, and remanded so the FWS can initiate rule making to address enhancement findings for the time periods at issue in this case.
|Sebek v. City of Seattle
|290 P.3d 159 (Wash.App. Div. 1,2012)
Two Seattle taxpayers filed a taxpayer action lawsuit against the city of Seattle for violating Washington’s animal cruelty statute and Seattle’s animal cruelty ordinance with regard to a zoo’s elephant exhibit. After the lawsuit was dismissed by the King County Superior Court for lack of taxpayer standing, plaintiffs appealed the court’s decision. The appeals court affirmed the lower court’s decision because the plaintiffs’ complaint alleged the zoological society, not the city, acted illegally and because the operating agreement between the city and the zoological society made it clear that the zoological society, not the city, had exclusive control over the operations of the elephant exhibit. Significantly, the appeals court found that a city’s contractual funding obligations to a zoological society that cares and owns an animal exhibit at a zoo is not enough to allege a city violated animal cruelty laws.
|Sentencia caso elefante Ramba
|Sentencia caso elefante Ramba
|Ramba was known as the last circus elephant in Chile. She was an Asian elephant that spent 40 years of her life alone, being forced to perform. Her owner was found guilty of animal mistreatment and was sentenced to 100 days in jail and to pay a fine of 10 monthly tax units (UTM). Ramba was forced to perform difficult tricks and was not provided medical care. In addition, she was kept chained in a small enclosure without adequate space, temperature, or enrichment. Ramba was officially “confiscated” in 1997 due to abuse and neglect. However, she remained with the circus but was not allowed to perform. She was removed from the circus and temporarily relocated to "Parque Safari in Rancagua" in 2011. In 2019, Ramba was relocated to Global Sanctuary for Elephants in Brazil. Unfortunately, Ramba died a few months later after arriving at the sanctuary due to kidney disease.
|Solicitud de Atracción 249/2023. Caso Elefante Ely. Ciudad de Mexico
|Solicitud de Atracción 249/2023
|This is a writ of Amparo on behalf of Ely, a 38-year-old female African elephant that lived in a circus before being relocated to the San Juan de Arago Zoo in 2012. In this instance, a concerned citizen and activist affiliated with the Association "Opening Cages, Opening Minds" ("Abriendo Jaulas, Abriendo Mentes") filed an Amparo petitioning the authorities in Mexico City to take necessary actions for the relocation of Ely from the zoo to a sanctuary in Brazil. The petitioner asserted that Ely had endured abuse from a young age during her 25-year tenure in a circus, and was currently experiencing deprivation of freedom at the zoo. Ely is solitary and grappling with skin and nail injuries, infections, and ailments such as dermatitis and hyperkeratosis. The petitioner further argued that Ely was suffering from issues in one of her limbs due to an old fracture and jaw problems stemming from the use of a handling hook during her circus days, among other concerns. Moreover, the elephant's confinement in a cement enclosure has compounded adverse effects on her physical and psychological well-being. Observations indicate distressing behavior including self-harm, such as eating her own feces, and striking herself with her trunk and against the fence. Ely also exhibited repetitive behavior attributed to inadequate mental, physical, social, and environmental stimulation. The treatment she has received is deemed a violation of ethical standards for animal respect and protection. The judge determined that Ely received appropriate and ample care at the zoo, where her enclosure adhered to the needs of her species. It was noted that she was receiving the necessary attention to address the chronic ailments stemming from her time in the circus. Consequently, the San Juan de Aragón Zoo fulfilled its obligation to protect and care for the elephant, addressing her physiological, behavioral, and health requirements and ensuring her overall well-being. Following the verdict, the zoo enlarged Ely's enclosure and introduced Gypsy, another elephant of similar size and age, to provide companionship for Ely. After pursuing various legal avenues without success, the complainant sought review from the Supreme Court of Justice, and the high court accepted the request. The Supreme Court will review the decision of the Fourth Administrative District court, which ruled for the zoo, finding that Ely was being kept in adequate conditions.
|The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Australia) Pty Ltd and Minister for Environment and Heritage
|(2005) 93 ALD 594
Zoos in New South Wales and Victoria sought to import asian elephants for conservation and exhibition. The Tribunal considered whether the elephants were being imported "for the purposes of conservation breeding or propagation", the zoos were "suitably equipped to manage, confine and care for the animals, including meeting the behavioural and biological needs of the animals", the importation of the elephants would "be detrimental to, or contribute to trade which is detrimental to ... the survival .... or ... recovery in nature of" Asian elephants and whether the elephants were "obtained in contravention of, [or] their importation would ... involve the contravention of, any law". The importation was allowed.