SAN FRANCISCO — On Thursday, October 15 a federal judge ruled that California’s ban on alligator products cannot be enforced.

Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, Chief U.S. District Judge for California’s Eastern District, ruled that the ban on alligator products will be temporarily halted.  She says that the ban cannot go forward due to legal challenges already in the courts.

In December of last year, companies and in the states of Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and California sued the state’s ban on alligator products.  They argue that the ban will negatively impact crocodile and alligator populations as well as the industry.

According to a sworn statement by Dilys Roe, from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and who is representing the companies, the crocodile industry is worth $100 million annually.  Roe adds that “the illegal trade has vanished, and crocodiles are far more abundant than they were 50 years ago.”

In a statement to the Associated Press, Bill Hogan, who is chair of the Louisiana Wildfire and Fisheries Commission, said that the ruling is “the first step and not the last.”  Hogan also adds that “it gives Louisiana’s vital alligator industry the ability to continue operating in California and beyond.”

Animal rights groups and environmental groups argue that the crocodile industry is harmful for endangered species.