Justice the Horse Will NOT Have his Day in Court

by Michelle C. Pardo

In August, we updated you about a lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in which a horse called Justice was the named plaintiff.  On September 17, 2019, an Oregon judge rejected the “creative” theory that an animal has legal capacity to sue its former owner and dismissed the case with prejudice, delivering another blow to various animal activist groups’ movement to open the courthouse doors to non-human animal litigants.  Continue reading Justice the Horse Will NOT Have his Day in Court

Interior Secretary Underscores State Role in Fish and Wildlife Regulation

by John M. Simpson.

In a move that could have significant effect with respect to the federal wildlife laws and regulations administered by the Department of the Interior, the Secretary of the Interior recently reaffirmed “the authority of the States to exercise their broad trustee and police powers as stewards of the Nation’s fish and wildlife species on public lands and waters under the jurisdiction of the Department.”  This action, stated in a September 10, 2018 memorandum to “Heads of Bureaus and Offices,” cited to the Department’s policy on state-federal relationships, 43 C.F.R., Part 24, and stressed that “State authority regarding fish and resident wildlife remains the comprehensive backdrop applicable in the absence of specific, overriding Federal law.  This 35-year-old rule is more relevant today than ever.”  Continue reading Interior Secretary Underscores State Role in Fish and Wildlife Regulation

Florida Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Greyhound Ballot Initiative

by John M. Simpson.

On September 7, 2018, the Supreme Court of Florida reversed a lower court decision that had enjoined, from inclusion on the November 2018 Florida ballot, a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution on the ground that the ballot language was clearly and conclusively defective.  Department of State v. Florida Greyhound Ass’n, Inc., No. SC18-1287 (Fla. Sept. 7, 2018).  The measure — Amendment 13 — would, if adopted, prohibit commercial dog racing in Florida by gaming or pari-mutuel operations in Florida and would prohibit wagering on dog races within Florida.   The Supreme Court ordered “that Amendment 13 appear on the ballot for the November 2018 general election” and ordered that “[n]o motion for rehearing will be allowed.”  Slip op. at 21. Continue reading Florida Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Greyhound Ballot Initiative

“What’s Your Beef”? Legal Challenge to Missouri’s New Meat Advertising Law

by Michelle C. Pardo

Animal rights and environmental activists have long led the charge into federal and state courts with consumer fraud actions challenging representations made about animal products, ostensibly arguing that consumers are misled by animal welfare claims on labels, but often with the ultimate goal of removing from a label something that the activists fear is influencing consumers’ purchase of an animal product.

Missouri’s new, first-in-the-nation law (amending its prior meat advertising law) prohibits companies from “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested livestock or poultry.” Mo. Rev. Stat. § 265.494(7). This amendment may put animal and environmental activist groups on their heels as it changes the way that products not derived from animals can be labeled.

Continue reading “What’s Your Beef”? Legal Challenge to Missouri’s New Meat Advertising Law

A Bipartisan Challenge to Animal Experimentation

An advocacy group called the White Coat Waste Project has filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing that the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) has wrongfully withheld documents related to experiments conducted on cats at its Beltsville, Maryland Agricultural Research Center.  White Coat Waste Project v. United States Department of Agriculture, No. 1:18-cv-02070 (D.D.C.).  Using the federal Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), the White Coat Waste Project requested records related to the USDA’s “Toxoplasmosis in Cats” study, including veterinary records for all cats and kittens used in the experiment, as well as a complete project budget.  Having received no response to its FOIA request within the statutory time limit, the White Coat Waste Project filed the lawsuit seeking a declaration that the USDA’s failure to respond to its FOIA request was unlawful, ordering USDA to produce the requested records, and for its attorneys’ fees. Continue reading A Bipartisan Challenge to Animal Experimentation

Canadian Court Dismisses Sasquatch Case

by John M. Simpson.

In a case raising unusual issues (to say the least), a trial court in the Canadian province of British Columbia recently dismissed a case in which the plaintiff contended that his rights under law were violated by the government’s apparent refusal to recognize the plaintiff’s belief in the existence of sasquatch.  Continue reading Canadian Court Dismisses Sasquatch Case

Court Narrows Lawsuit Challenging Withdrawal of Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule

by Michelle Pardo

Last week, a federal district court in the Northern District of California granted in part and denied in part the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental and animal rights organizations which sought to challenge the USDA’s withdrawal of a rule requiring new standards for raising, transporting and slaughtering organic animals.  Center for Environmental Health, et al. v. Perdue (No. 3:18-cv-01763-RS, N.D. Cal.).  The plaintiffs, various organic and environmental groups, together with the Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, had sued the federal government over its withdrawal of a hotly-debated and commented upon Rule that proscribed animal welfare standards for livestock and poultry.  Continue reading Court Narrows Lawsuit Challenging Withdrawal of Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule

APHIS to Involve Attending Vets Directly in Inspections

by John M. Simpson.

In a recent letter and an accompanying video directed at veterinarians, the Deputy Administrator for Animal Care of the USDA Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS), Bernadette Juarez, described a new initiative that will involve attending veterinarians more directly in APHIS inspections of persons and entities licensed under the Animal Welfare Act. Continue reading APHIS to Involve Attending Vets Directly in Inspections