A few weeks ago, SCI’s Litigation Department informed SCI members that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had posted a notice to individuals who have previously imported or exported wildlife. The notice explained that Humane Society International (HSI) had requested data, including the identity of the importers and exporters. The FWS gave submitters of information the opportunity to object to the release of that data. SCI’s Litigation Department provided SCI members with information about how to communicate their objections to the FWS.
Thanks in part to the diligent efforts of SCI members, the FWS received an overwhelming response to the notice – written responses from 181 companies and 1,429 individuals. Joining the voices of the many SCI members who informed the FWS – “Don’t disclose my data” – SCI’s Litigation Department sent a detailed written objection to the proposed disclosure.
The FWS is now deciding whether to continue to withhold the information or to disclose it to HSI. The FWS estimates that it will finalize its determination regarding all potential information releases to HSI by the end of January, 2017.
If the FWS does decide to release data over the objections of those who submitted written responses, the FWS is required to first provide advance notice to those who objected. The FWS has informed SCI that if this step becomes necessary, the FWS expects to complete it by the end of February, 2017.
If you or anyone you know receives a notice from the FWS about the disclosure of information to HSI, please notify SCI’s Litigation Department as soon as possible by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We will continue to keep you informed about this case. Please continue to monitor Crosshairs and other SCI publications for updates.