A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit has dismissed as moot an animal rights group's challenge of the environmental review documents for a program in which the National Park Service eradicated feral pigs on Santa Cruz Island.

A group called In Defense of Animals (IDA) argued that the co-owners of the island, the park service and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act in a variety of ways. The group conceded the introduced pigs were a hazard to historical and natural resources on the island, which is part of Channel Islands National Park. But the group argued for a non-lethal method of eradicating the pigs.

The park service and TNC adopted a restoration plan in 2003 that called for shooting the pigs. Two years later, IDA sued, but a district court judge ruled for the park service and TNC. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit said the case was moot because all of the pigs already had been killed.

"Because we cannot resurrect the pigs, nor retroactively remedy any pain that they might have felt from being shot, or take any other action to prevent or undo the eradication at issue here, we lack the power to grant any effective relief," the court ruled.

The case is Feldman v. Bomar, No. 06-55675, 2008 DJDAR 389. It was filed January 10, 2008 and modified March 3, 2008 at 2008 DJDAR 3092.