Federal Court Enjoins California Ban on Sale of Alligator and Crocodile Parts

by John M. Simpson.

On Tuesday, a federal district court in California enjoined the enforcement of Cal. Penal Code § 653o which criminalizes the sale and possession for sale of alligator and crocodile parts in California.  April in Paris v. Becerra, No. 2:19-cv-02471-KJM-CKD, consolidated with Louisiana Wildlife Fisheries Comm’n v. Becerra, No. 2:19-cv-02488-KJM-CKD (E.D. Cal. Oct. 13, 2020).  Plaintiffs, business interests importing alligator and crocodile parts into California, brought the action against the California Attorney General and the Director of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.  The law had been slated to take effect on January 1, 2020, but had been suspended pursuant to a stipulated retraining order pending the court’s decision on the preliminary injunction motion. Continue reading Federal Court Enjoins California Ban on Sale of Alligator and Crocodile Parts

California Appellate Court Throws Out Double Jockey Fee Imposed on Racehorse Owner

by John M. Simpson

On October 5, 2020, the California Court of Appeal (Second District) reversed a trial court’s decision that had upheld the imposition by race stewards of a double jockey fee upon a racehorse owner who had replaced the jockey the day before the draw for the 2017 Breeder’s Cup Distaff race.  Fipke v. California Horse Racing Board, No. B299810 (Cal. App. Oct. 5, 2020).  The court held that the fee was prohibited by the Horse Racing Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 19500. Continue reading California Appellate Court Throws Out Double Jockey Fee Imposed on Racehorse Owner

COVID-19 Detecting Sniffer Dogs Deployed at Dubai International Airport

by John M. Simpson.

As we reported previously, a study conducted by the National Veterinary School in Alfort, France, suggested that dogs trained in some form of olfactory detection, such as explosives or narcotics, could be trained to detect, with reasonable accuracy, the SARS-CoV-2 virus in samples of human axillary perspiration (underarm sweat), thus suggesting the potential of sniffer dogs as a screen for the COVID-19 disease.  That approach has been deployed at the Dubai International Airport (DXB). Continue reading COVID-19 Detecting Sniffer Dogs Deployed at Dubai International Airport

California Federal Court Serves Up a Win to Foie Gras Producers

by Michelle C. Pardo

In 2004, after a strong push from animal rights activists, California banned the production and sale of foie gras, a luxury gourmet food and traditional French delicacy that is made from duck or geese liver.   See CA Health & Safety Code, Section 25982 (“A product may not be sold in California if it is the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond a normal size.”).  The ban went into effect in 2012.  Years of litigation by a restaurant operator and a coalition of foie gras producers, which challenged the law as vague and unreasonably interfering with interstate commerce, had been unsuccessful.  In 2017, the Ninth Circuit upheld the statute, and last year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear arguments in the foie gras industry’s challenge to the ban.

This week Stephen V. Wilson, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, granted plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and ruled that the ban did not cover the shipment of foie gras by out-of-state producers to California customers. Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec et al. v. Kamala J. Harris, et al. (2:12-cv-05735-SVW-RZ) (C.D. Cal. July 14, 2020).  Continue reading California Federal Court Serves Up a Win to Foie Gras Producers

Animal Rights Challenge to FWS Sport Trophy Decision Fails in D.C. Circuit

by John M. Simpson.

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt, ___ F.3d ___, No. 19-5152 (D.C. Cir. June 16, 2020), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently affirmed a district court’s rejection of a challenge by animal rights groups to a decision by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to withdraw blanket findings as to whether the importation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of certain sport trophies of “threatened” species taken in other countries would enhance the survival and not be detrimental to the survival of those species. Continue reading Animal Rights Challenge to FWS Sport Trophy Decision Fails in D.C. Circuit

USDA Updates Confirmed U.S. Cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Animals

by John M. Simpson.

On June 10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) provided an update to the list of cases of SARS-CoV-2 that have been confirmed by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories.  The APHIS chart is reproduced below: Continue reading USDA Updates Confirmed U.S. Cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Animals

COVID-19: Study Suggests that Sniffer Dogs May Detect SARS-CoV-2 in Humans

by John M. Simpson.

Researchers at the National Veterinary School in Alfort, France, recently made available an un-refereed pre-print of a proof-of-concept study that suggests that the axillary perspiration (i.e., underarm sweat) of humans infected with SARS-CoV-2 emits an odor that detection dogs can be trained to detect.  The work has not yet been peer-reviewed, but it offers some interesting results. Continue reading COVID-19: Study Suggests that Sniffer Dogs May Detect SARS-CoV-2 in Humans

COVID-19: USDA Confirms First U.S. Case of SARS-CoV-2 in Pet Dog

by John M. Simpson.

On June 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in a pet dog in New York state.  The dog, a German shepherd, had shown signs of respiratory illness and samples were taken and confirmed to be positive for the virus by the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories. Continue reading COVID-19: USDA Confirms First U.S. Case of SARS-CoV-2 in Pet Dog

Habeas Corpus Petition For Elephant Strikes Out Again

by John M. Simpson.

The Connecticut Appellate Court recently rejected yet another attempt by the animal rights group Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. (NHRP) to free an elephant in private ownership through the device of a petition for habeas corpus.  Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. R. W. Commerford & Sons, Inc., No. AC 42795 (Conn. App. May 19, 2020). Continue reading Habeas Corpus Petition For Elephant Strikes Out Again

USDA Issues Amendments to Animal Welfare Act Licensing Regulations

by John M. Simpson.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published final amendments to the regulations governing the licensing of animal dealers, exhibitors and operators of auction sales under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq. Continue reading USDA Issues Amendments to Animal Welfare Act Licensing Regulations