At last! SCI does something good!

SCI and Ducks Unlimited Defeat Animal Rights Group in Mute Swan Case December 18, 2006 On Friday, December 15, 2006, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of Safari Club International and Ducks Unlimited, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an appeal brought by the animal rights group Fund for Animals concerning the State of Maryland’s ability to manage the invasive mute swan. The Fund had sued the FWS claiming that it violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) by removing the mute swan from the list of birds protected by that Act. SCI and DU intervened and helped the Federal Government defend the case. The defense successfully argued that a law passed by Congress in 2004 clearly confirmed that the MBTA does not protect non-native birds, such as the mute swan. The Court rejected “Plaintiffs’ creative attempt to weave ambiguity out of clarity.” For many years, the State of Maryland has sought to control the mute swan, an invasive and highly destructive bird. The mute swan consumes inordinate quantities of submerged aquatic vegetation vital to the health of Chesapeake Bay and to the wildlife that rely on it. The mute swan is also highly aggressive toward native waterfowl. Several years ago, Maryland recognized that if it did not control the population of this long-lived species, its numbers and the harm it causes would continue to grow. Congress recognized these facts when it passed a law allowing the states to regain management control over non-native bird species. Safari Club International President, Ralph Cunningham applauded the victory, stating "Safari Club International and Ducks Unlimited fought hard to ensure that Maryland and other States along the eastern seaboard have the ability to manage this harmful and invasive species. This allows the States to protect the ecosystem and provide opportunities for sustainable use hunting of native waterfowl. Our legal team was able to supply the Court of Appeals with one of the main legal arguments on which the Court relied to defeat the anti-hunting group’s lawsuit.” # # #