All posts by John M. Simpson

Farmers in Ontario Could Get Increased Protection from Animal Rights Trespassers

by John M. Simpson.

On December 2, Bill 156 was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada, entitled the “Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019.”  The measure, which was introduced by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and which passed upon first reading, stiffens protections for farmers and animal processing facilities against trespass and other physical property invasions or interference with animal transportation. Continue reading Farmers in Ontario Could Get Increased Protection from Animal Rights Trespassers

President Trump Signs “Crush Video” Legislation

by John M. Simpson.

On November 25, President Trump signed the “Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act” or “PACT Act” — H.R. 724 — which has become law as Public Law No. 116-72.  Unlike most recent examples of federal legislative gridlock, this measure went through both houses of Congress with very little, if any, opposition.  The bill cleared the House on a motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill and passed by voice vote.  In the Senate, the bill passed by unanimous consent. Continue reading President Trump Signs “Crush Video” Legislation

Animal Rights Group’s Charity Status Revoked by Australian Authorities

by John M. Simpson.

We have reported previously on the activities of Aussie Farms, an animal rights group in Australia that, earlier this year, published an internet-based interactive map showing the locations and other information regarding hundreds of farms and other animal-based businesses in Australia.  The map provoked a strong, negative reaction from the agriculture community in Australia, with some calling for the revocation of Aussie Farms’ status as a charity.  On November 18, 2019, the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) announced that it had “revoked the charity status of Aussie Farms following an investigation.”  Continue reading Animal Rights Group’s Charity Status Revoked by Australian Authorities

Australian State Gets Tough With Animal Rights Trespassers

by John M. Simpson.

On November 13, 2019, the Parliament of New South Wales passed legislation aimed at dealing with the increasing threat to farmers and their operations posed by animal rights activists in Australia who have taken up physical property trespassing as a tactic to get their various points across.  The measure, entitled the Right to Farm Bill 2019, increases the criminal penalties for aggravated trespass and creates a new offense for inciting aggravated trespass. Continue reading Australian State Gets Tough With Animal Rights Trespassers

House Passes Bill Amending “Crush Video” Prohibition

by John M. Simpson.

On October 22, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 724, entitled the “Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act” or “PACT Act.”  The measure would retain the existing prohibition in 18 U.S.C. § 48 on the creation and distribution of “crush videos” but would also criminalize an intentional act of animal crushing.   Continue reading House Passes Bill Amending “Crush Video” Prohibition

Update on Elephant Habeas Corpus Case

by John M. Simpson.

We recently reported on a case in which an animal rights group, the Nonhuman Rights Project,  sought habeas corpus relief for three Asian elephants maintained in a zoo in Connecticut.  The Connecticut Appellate Court affirmed the lower court’s judgment and ruled that the plaintiff had no standing  because the elephants themselves had no standing. Continue reading Update on Elephant Habeas Corpus Case

UK Advertising Standards Authority Bans PETA Ad As “Misleading” and Lacking Substantiation

by John M. Simpson.

On September 4, 2019 the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which describes itself as “the UK’s independent advertising regulator,” upheld a challenge to an advertisement  that had been displayed for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on the side of buses in February 2019.  As the authority described it, the ad “included the text ‘Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes.  Wool is just as cruel as fur.  GO WOOL-FREE THIS WINTER PeTA.’  Beside the text was an image of a woman with the neck of her jumper pulled over her face.”   Ten complainants challenged whether the claim “wool is just as cruel as fur” was misleading and could be substantiated.  ASA upheld the challenge and ruled that the ad “must not appear in its current form” and “told PETA not to use the claim ‘wool is just as cruel as fur’ in [the] future.”  Continue reading UK Advertising Standards Authority Bans PETA Ad As “Misleading” and Lacking Substantiation

Connecticut Appellate Court Denies Habeas Relief for Elephants

by John M.  Simpson.

On August 20, 2019, a panel of the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Appellate Court officially released a decision affirming the dismissal of an action that had been brought seeking habeas corpus relief for three elephants maintained at a zoo in Goshen, Connecticut.  Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. R. W. Commerford and Sons, Inc., No. AC 41464 (Conn. App.  Aug. 20, 2019).  The petitioner Nonhuman Rights Project sought to represent the elephants as their “next friend” seeking to vindicate what was described as the animals’ “common-law right to bodily liberty.”  The lower court dismissed the case on the grounds that petitioner lacked standing and, alternatively, that the petition was “wholly frivolous.”  Continue reading Connecticut Appellate Court Denies Habeas Relief for Elephants

Bid By Humane Society International To Get Information On Sport Hunters Fails

by John M.  Simpson.

On August 15, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia entered a partial summary judgment upholding a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to withhold certain information pertaining to sport hunters from records produced pursuant to a  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Humane Society International (HSI).  Humane Soc’y Internat’l v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., et al., No. 16-720 (TJK) (D.D.C. Aug. 15, 2019).    HSI is an organization related to the animal rights organization Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).  HSUS has long been known for its opposition to sport hunting. Continue reading Bid By Humane Society International To Get Information On Sport Hunters Fails

9th Circuit Rejects Animal Rights Organization’s Claim That a Bengal Tiger is an “Individual” Under FOIA

by John M. Simpson.

Yesterday, in Animal Legal Defense Fund v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, et al., ___ F.3d ___, No. 18-16327 (9th Cir. Aug. 12, 2019), the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a summary judgment of the Northern District Court of California holding that a Bengal tiger is not an “individual” within the meaning of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).   The case had been brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) denied ALDF’s request for expedited treatment of its FOIA request for records concerning an inspection request regarding a tiger named “Tony.”     Continue reading 9th Circuit Rejects Animal Rights Organization’s Claim That a Bengal Tiger is an “Individual” Under FOIA