Friends of Animals v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service
In Friends of Animals v. United States Fish & Wildlife Service, the Ninth Circuit held that the plain language of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act allows for the removal of one species of bird to benefit another species. Friends of Animals argued that the Service’s experiment permitting the taking of one species––the barred owl––to advance the conservation of a different species––the northern spotted owl––violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The court, however, found that the Act delegates broad implementing discretion to the Secretary of the Interior, and neither the Act nor the underlying international conventions limit the taking of a particular species to enhance conservation of another species. In affirming the district court’s ruling, the Ninth Circuit agreed with the Service’s conclusions and granted summary judgment in their favor.