Press Release

House Republicans Vote to Remove Federal Protections for Wolves, Expand State Assault and Cruelty to These Threatened and Endangered Animals

Washington, D.C. — On April 30, the U.S. House of Representatives very narrowly passed H.R. 764 to eliminate federal protections under the Endangered Species Act for gray wolves across their range in the United States. The bill, led by U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., passed 209-205 (Roll Call #169), with four Democrats favoring it and four Republicans opposing it. In short, about 98 percent of House Democrats opposed the bill and 98 percent of House Republicans favored it. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., led opposition to H.R. 764 on the floor.

The Boebert bill comes just weeks after Wyoming’s retrograde wolf-treatment policies — put in place after a Congressional rider passed more than a decade ago delisting wolves in the Northern Rockies — made national and international news because of a case of extreme wolf cruelty. 

In early April, facts came to light in national media about the late-February torture and killing of a wolf by a Sublette County rancher and trophy hunter named Cody Roberts. Roberts ran down a female adolescent wolf with a snowmobile, crushing her and injuring her, taking her into his possession, and then torturing her. He was fined just $250 for taking a live wild animal into his possession.

Animal Wellness Action, the Center for a Humane Economy, and other organizations are demanding state and federal prosecution of Roberts and have announced a $15,000 reward for information that contributes to his arrest and his incarceration for at least one year.

The organizations have also called on Wyoming to revamp its wolf-treatment policies, eliminating its predator zone where, in 85 percent of the state, wolves and nearly a dozen other native wildlife species can be killed without limit every day of the year, by any method, including running wolves down in snowmobiles or even setting them on fire.

Pacelle issued the following statement about the timing and outcome of the vote on H.R. 764:

It is astonishing to me that House Republican leaders brought up a bill to remove all federal protections for wolves right on the heels of the gut-wrenching revelations about cruelty to wolves in Wyoming. In that state, Cody Roberts ran down a wolf with a snowmobile and crushed the animal, grievously wounding her. In a hate-filled follow up, he then took her captive, tormented her, and paraded her around a bar before finally killing her behind the commercial establishment. 

This savage act of cruelty tells us all we need to know about the consequences of a federal delisting of wolves: a state-based free-for-all when it comes to killing and maiming and torturing wolves. It’s legal, in some states that have delisted wolves, to run down wolves with snowmobiles, to allow packs of dogs to attack them, to use neck snares and leghold traps, and to kill them without limit in some circumstances.

The Republican-dominated vote was shameful and it will produce unfiltered, appalling cruelty to wolves. The Democratic majority in the Senate should refuse to consider this toxic legislation.

Deciding which species are listed or delisted under the federal Endangered Species Act is a job best left to wildlife management professionals and the courts. This ham-handed intervention by the House of Representatives in federal endangered species management shows us exactly why the 118th Congress has become known for ineptness and dysfunction.

The four Republicans who worked to retain federal wolf protection policies are Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Mike Garcia of California, and Nancy Mace of South Carolina, and the four Democrats who voted to eliminate federal protections for wolves are Yadira Caraveo of Colorado, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez of Washington, and Jared Golden of Maine. 

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News