SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The 9th Circuit threw out the claims of animal-rights activists who wanted San Diego to protect nursing harbor seals and their pups from sightseers at Children’s Pool in La Jolla, Calif.
The judges ruled that the San Diego-based Animal Protection and Rescue League lacks standing to challenge a state court order requiring the city to take down a rope barrier separating seals from humans during the seals’ breeding season. The animal-rights group claimed the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act trumps the state court order.
The 9th circuit issued an emergency order in March, instructing the city to put up the rope until the breeding season ended in May. The state court then ordered the city to remove the barrier.
The dismissal is the latest in a contentious battle between pro-seal activists and residents of La Jolla, who claim a 1931 trust agreement requires the city to preserve the beach as a children’s pool. Animal-rights activists said the historical agreement, as interpreted by a state judge, violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act.