This week, the American Sheep Industry Association, Idaho Wool Growers Association and Montana Wool Growers Association requested an order granting them leave to appear and participate as amici curiae in the lawsuit requesting the temporary shutdown of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES).
Any injunction that encroaches on the ongoing research of the USSES is of interest to the wool growers. Thus, the outcome of the liability and remedy phases of this action will have significant and direct consequences on the groups. Additionally, the information and arguments that will be presented by the wool growers will address some of the specific issues presented to the court.
In May, four environmental activist groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services asking a federal judge to order the temporary shutdown of the USSES saying it is harming the region's grizzly bear population.
The groups contend that information they obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that within the last eight years there have been grizzly bear deaths near the sheep station in the Centennial Mountain Range. As a result, the groups want the federal agency to complete a new biological opinion that considers all the grizzly deaths in the area.
USSES, established in 1915, conducts research on sheep reproduction, genetics, growth and development, range management and quality of meat and wool. The station has about 2,000 domestic sheep on 1,765 square miles of land, including 27,930 Agricultural Research Service acres.