Ninth Circuit Tosses Animal Rights Consumer Case For Lack Of Standing

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought under the California Unfair Competition Law by Friends of Animals and two other advocacy groups challenging the “100% natural” language in the advertising of the defendant poultry producer.  Friends of the Earth v. Sanderson Farms, Inc., No. 19-16696 (9th Cir. Mar. 31, 2021).  The appellate court agreed with the district court that plaintiffs had failed to prove organizational standing. Continue reading “Ninth Circuit Tosses Animal Rights Consumer Case For Lack Of Standing”

Supreme Court Addresses When a “Draft Biological Opinion” Really is a “Draft” Under the FOIA

Today, in her first published opinion on the Supreme Court, Justice Barrett delivered the majority opinion in U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv. v. Sierra Club, Inc., No. 19-547 (U.S. Mar. 4, 2021), a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case involving whether draft biological opinions of the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service were exempt from public disclosure.  The Court ruled that they were, and overturned a contrary determination by the Ninth Circuit. Continue reading “Supreme Court Addresses When a “Draft Biological Opinion” Really is a “Draft” Under the FOIA”

D.C. Circuit Ducks Constitutionality of USDA ALJ’s — For Now

A divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently decided a significant case for those animal-related businesses who are subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Fleming v. U.S. Dep’t of Agriculture, No. 17-1246, 1249 & 1250 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 16, 2021). Continue reading “D.C. Circuit Ducks Constitutionality of USDA ALJ’s — For Now”

PeTA’s Euthanasia Rate — Part II

Last week, we wrote on the overall euthasia rate in 2020 for the animal “shelter” that animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) runs in Norfolk, Virginia.  (“Euthanasia rate” here means how many animals the shelter euthanized (killed) expressed as percentage of how many animals the shelter took in during 2020.  It is based on data that every animal shelter in Virginia is required to submit annually to the Virginia Department of  Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).)  PeTA’s euthanasia rate was far higher than the average euthanasia rate for other shelters in Virginia.  When compared to the overall euthanasia rate of all reporting agencies in Virginia in 2020, as reported by VDACS, PeTA’s rate was more than 11 times higher for dogs, more than 7 times higher for cats and more than 9 times higher for dogs and cats combined.

This week, we dig a little deeper into the numbers. Continue reading “PeTA’s Euthanasia Rate — Part II”

Euthanasia At PETA’s “Shelter” Still Occurring At Alarming Rate

On prior occasions (here and here), we have written about the high rate at which animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) euthanizes the animals that it takes in at its Norfolk, Virginia animal “shelter.”  All public and private animal shelters and other animal releasing agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia are required to submit an annual summary of their animal custody records to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).  PETA’s report for 2020 recently filed with VDACS reveals that PETA’s death rate still outpaces the average rate at which other shelters in Virginia euthanize animals. Continue reading “Euthanasia At PETA’s “Shelter” Still Occurring At Alarming Rate”

Emotional Support Animals Lose Status on U.S. Flights

by Michelle C. Pardo

As Americans begin to ramp up air travel, they may notice less four-legged passengers on their flights.  On January 11, 2020, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new rules regarding service animals on flights went into effect and may have a material effect on the type and volume of animals that travel on domestic flights. Continue reading “Emotional Support Animals Lose Status on U.S. Flights”

COVID-19 Stimulus Legislation Contains Several Animal-Related Provisions

In addition to financial relief measures for those individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the omnibus spending legislation that President Trump signed on December 27, 2020 (H.R. 133 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021), contains several provisions related to animals. Continue reading “COVID-19 Stimulus Legislation Contains Several Animal-Related Provisions”

Nonprofit Zoological Parks and Aquariums May Qualify for Shuttered Venue Operator Grants Under New COVID-19 Relief Bill

On December 22, 2020, the United States Congress passed an omnibus spending bill (the December relief bill) that included significant revisions and additions to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), and previously amended by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPP Flexibility Act). President Trump signed the bill on December 27, 2020.

Duane Morris has published two Alerts on the December relief bill.

Of particular interest to aquariums and zoological parks that operate as nonprofits, the December relief bill includes Shuttered Venue Operator Grants for certain businesses impacted by COVID-19, including live venue operators, entertainment businesses, arts and cultural organizations, “relevant museums” and others that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and related government and industry restrictions.

The definition of “museum” includes aquariums, arboretums, botanical gardens, art museums, children’s museums, general museums, historic houses and sites, history museums, nature centers, natural history and anthropology museums, planetariums, science and technology centers, specialized museums and zoological parks.

Eligibility for the grants depends in part on the entity’s reduction in gross earned revenue over the same quarter in 2019.

For businesses of 300 or fewer employees, there will be an opportunity to receive a second PPP loan, provided that certain other criteria are met. The first Alert, “Second PPP Loans Available for Certain Businesses; Changes to PPP Loan Terms and Conditions,” summarizes the criteria for the “second-draw” loans available for certain businesses.

Denial of Habeas Relief for Bronx Zoo Elephant Affirmed on Appeal

On December 17, 2020, a New York intermediate appellate court rejected an attempt by the animal rights organization, Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), to obtain habeas corpus relief for a 48-year old Asian elephant named “Happy,” who resides at the Bronx Zoo.  In re Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Breheny, Case No. 2020-02581 (Sup. Ct. App. Div. 1st Dept. Dec. 17, 2020). Continue reading “Denial of Habeas Relief for Bronx Zoo Elephant Affirmed on Appeal”

Animal Activist Group’s “Open Rescue” Violates California’s Unfair Competition Law

by Michelle C. Pardo

Animal activist group Direct Action Everywhere (“DxE”), which made headlines for its members’ multiple criminal charges as a result of trespassing and removing animals from agriculture operations, has been enjoined for its violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) for its “open rescue” actions against Diestel Turkey Ranch.  After targeting Diestel’s turkey farms with its tactics, and launching an “investigation” of its turkey raising practices, back in January of 2017, DxE sued Diestel in the Alameda County Superior Court under the UCL and the False Advertising Law (FAL).  DxE alleged that Diestel Turkey Ranch’s marketing had made misleading and deceptive claims about how its turkeys are raised.  Direct Action Everywhere SF Bay Area v. Diestel Turkey Ranch (RG17847475) (Superior Court, Alameda County). Continue reading “Animal Activist Group’s “Open Rescue” Violates California’s Unfair Competition Law”