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TUCSON, Ariz., Nov. 1, 2003 ¯ SCI, the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide, today announced that the United States District Court has, for a second time in three months, ruled against Fund For Animals and other animal rights activists. 

The federal court again cited the documents filed by Safari Club International as support for its original July 31, 2003 decision -- Fund For Animals has no legal standing in the lawsuit it filed against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Our landmark decision has been affirmed,” said Gary F. Bogner, SCI President.  “It shows that continued legal wrangling by animal rights zealots does not improve a bogus lawsuit, and that sportsmen can help push back anti-hunters trying to handcuff the government experts responsible for conserving precious wildlife resources in the United States and abroad.”

Plaintiffs had asked the Court to reconsider its July 31, 2003 decision in which the Court stated that Plaintiffs had “failed to demonstrate that they will likely obtain redress from a favorable decision on the merits.”  On October 30, 2003 the Court found the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Reconsideration to be “basically no different than the argument they presented in their underlying Motion for Summary Judgment.”

Furthermore, the Court found that the “Plaintiffs ignore the two primary pieces of evidence” presented by SCI and other intervenors to the lawsuit, “which show that decreased injury to argali sheep and increase conservation efforts would be unlikely if issuance of U.S. importation permits were enjoined as requested by the Plaintiffs.”

“The original lawsuit unsuccessfully challenged the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s authority to issue trophy importation permits on animals coming from three Central Asian countries,” said Kevin Anderson, Chairman of SCI’s Legal Task Force.  “Justice and fact again have prevailed over misinformation spread by animal protectionist groups.  Slapped twice, they should wake up and realize that they cannot impose their extremist agendas on sovereign nations that are effectively conserving wildlife.”

The two rulings by Judge Gladys Kessler of the US District Court for the District of Columbia, dealt specifically with legally harvested Argali sheep from Mongolia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, but they represent vital legal precedent for a wide variety of species hunted by U.S. citizens internationally.

They also underscore that evidence shows U.S. hunters generally pay the highest prices for hunting permits in many countries, and permit revenues are being used in part for conservation and to convince local people not to poach valuable and renewable wildlife resources.

Rick Parson’s, SCI Acting Executive Director, reinforced this point.  “The money sportsmen spend to travel and hunt in overseas countries improves wildlife conservation efforts.  Had SCI not intervened in this lawsuit, not only would sportsmen have lost an important hunting opportunity, but Mongolia, Tajikistan and Kyrgzstan would have lost an important revenue source of funding for its wild sheep management programs.  Frankly, without this important SCI victory, the continued health of Argali sheep populations would have come into question.”

SCI was joined in its successful motion to intervene in behalf of the US Fish and Wildlife Service by the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance Foundation.  The judge also granted a summary judgment motion by the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep and other sportsmen’s organizations, as well as a legal standing argument by the government of Mongolia.

SCI – First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide.  SCI and its members invested tens of thousands of dollars to cover SCI’s legal efforts in the case, and the nonprofit association is a tireless advocate for the world’s 45 million sportsmen and sportswomen, who, through legal hunting, annually drive more than $1.7 billion in funding to conserve all wild species.  For more information, call 520-620-1220

Uploaded: 11/1/2003