Idaho Wildlife Services FOIA Lawsuit

Idaho Wildlife Services FOIA Lawsuit

Current Status:
FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Case Title:
Western Watersheds Project v. USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services

Staff attorney(s):
Talasi B. Brooks

Client(s):

Western Watersheds Project

To Protect:

Freedom of Information

States:
Idaho

Updates:

After Advocates for the West filed suit, Wildlife Services began releasing records that responded to Western Watersheds Project’s FOIA requests.  Ultimately, Western Watersheds Project agreed to dismiss the case, in return for Wildlife Services’s agreement to release 1,800 pages of records every two weeks for the next 8 months.  As the records are received, Advocates for the West and Western Watersheds Project are working together to review them, to determine whether Wildlife Service’s has complied with the law.

Case Information:

On June 22, 2015, Advocates for the West filed a lawsuit in Idaho federal court on behalf of Western Watersheds Project against Wildlife Services to force the agency to disclose information about its wildlife-killing methods and activities in Idaho. The lawsuit alleges numerous violations of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

FOIA is a federal law that requires federal agencies to disclose information to the public about agency activities and operations. On behalf of WWP, Advocates for the West has submitted numerous FOIA requests to Wildlife Services over the last few months seeking details about the agency’s wildlife killing operations in Idaho, including its permits and agreements with other state and federal agencies. Wildlife Services stonewalled on those requests, refusing to provide the documents sought.

Wildlife Services – an agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture – has come under fire for its predator-killing program under which it kills many thousands of animals in Idaho each year – including wolves, coyotes, foxes, cougars, beavers, and many other wildlife species that it deems “predators.” Yet the amount of money it spends and how the agency conducts its killing is kept hidden from the public.