All posts by John M. Simpson

“Fake Meat” Discussed at Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting

by John M. Simpson.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), a prominent non-governmental organization in the U.S. representing farm and ranch families, held its annual meeting earlier this month in New Orleans.  Among the topics discussed (in addition to the address by President Trump), was the increase in “alternative protein” production, namely meat-like substances that are derived from plant ingredients or that are cell-based and grown in a laboratory from animal cells.  Plant-based “meat” products (e.g., “tofurky”) are currently available at retail.  Cell-cultured “meat” products are not yet available but could be seen in 2019. Continue reading “Fake Meat” Discussed at Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting

Federal Judge Finds PETA Investigative Technique Unlawful

by John M. Simpson.

The animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has been known to utilize “undercover” video and other methods in conducting investigations of animal enterprises.  One of those techniques was recently found unlawful by a federal district court.  PETA v. Tri-State Zoological Park of W. Maryland, 2018 WL 5761689, No. 1:17-cv-02148 (D. Md. Nov. 1, 2018). Continue reading Federal Judge Finds PETA Investigative Technique Unlawful

Animal Welfare or Anti-Semitism?

By John M. Simpson.

The New York Times recently reported on an interesting (and unsettling) animal law development in a European Union member country.  According to the report, an area of Belgium – Flanders – adopted a law that eliminates any religious exception to the otherwise generally applicable animal welfare law requirement that an animal harvested for food be stunned prior to slaughter.   The law took effect as of the first of the year, and is similar to a measure adopted in the Belgian region of Wallonia that will take effect in September. Continue reading Animal Welfare or Anti-Semitism?

PETA’s Attack on Seafood Restaurant Backfires

By John M. Simpson.

Last fall, we reported on a situation in Baltimore, Maryland, in which a local, family-owned seafood restaurant decided to resist a campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) against steamed crabs.  PETA purchased a billboard advertisement in which a Maryland crab proclaimed “I’m ME, not MEAT.  See the individual.  Go Vegan.”  PETA believes that crabs feel pain and that the method of boiling them alive is inhumane.  Since crabs are invertebrates, whether they feel pain or just demonstrate a reflex action is debatable.  The science is not conclusive on this point.

Seeing PETA’s move as an assault on the entire Maryland crab industry, a local establishment which has sold steamed crabs for decades decided enough was enough, stood up and took the animal rights group on. Continue reading PETA’s Attack on Seafood Restaurant Backfires

PETA Weighs in on Live-Animal Mascots

By John M. Simpson.

In typical fashion, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recently called for an end to live animal mascots at collegiate sporting events.  This was apparently prompted by a “meet and greet” between the competing football teams’ animal mascots prior to the January 1, 2019 Sugar Bowl.  Continue reading PETA Weighs in on Live-Animal Mascots

Eighth Circuit Upholds Trump Administration’s Scuttling of Packers and Stockyards Act Rules

By John M. Simpson.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently denied a petition for review of the Secretary of Agriculture’s actions to withdraw interim final and proposed regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA).  Organization for Competitive Markets, et al., v. Dep’t of Agriculture, et al., No. 17-3723 (8th Cir. Dec. 21, 2018).  The  interim final and proposed rules had been issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Obama Administration in late 2016 but were scuttled by the Trump Administration.  Continue reading Eighth Circuit Upholds Trump Administration’s Scuttling of Packers and Stockyards Act Rules

FDA Reports on Antimicrobial Drug Use in Food-Producing Animals

By John M. Simpson.

On December 18, 2018, the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, M.D., announced the issuance of the FDA’s 2017 Summary Report on Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals.  As the Commissioner noted, the health issues posed by antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are a significant problem.  Antimicrobial resistance is “the ability of a microorganism (bacteria, virus, fungi, parasite) to resist the effects of a drug.”  Therefore, “[o]ptimizing how medically important antimicrobial drugs are used and limiting their use to only when necessary to treat, control or prevent disease will help to preserve the effectiveness of these drugs for fighting disease in both humans and animals.”  Continue reading FDA Reports on Antimicrobial Drug Use in Food-Producing Animals

Court Dismisses Challenge to USDA’s Failure to Issue AWA Avian Regulations

By John M. Simpson

Earlier this week, a federal district court in Washington, D.C., dismissed an action brought by animal rights organizations challenging the failure of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue animal welfare regulations specific to birds under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).  American Anti-Vivisection Soc’y, et al. v. U.S. Dep’t of Agriculture, et al., No. 1:18-cv-01138 (TNM) (D.D.C. Dec. 10, 2018).  While finding that the plaintiffs had pleaded sufficient facts to establish Article III standing to sue, the court rejected their substantive claims under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA):  (i) that USDA’s failure to promulgate regulations applicable to birds was “agency action unlawfully withheld;” and (ii) that USDA’s decision not to issue the standards was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion and contrary to law.  Continue reading Court Dismisses Challenge to USDA’s Failure to Issue AWA Avian Regulations

Farm Bill Protects Pets and Support Animals of Domestic Violence Victims

by John M. Simpson.

The Conference Committee compromise version of the 2018 Farm Bill, was released on December 10, 164 Cong. Rec. H9823 (Dec. 10, 2018).  The measure was passed by the Senate on December 11 and contains a provision that protects the pets, service animals, emotional support animals and horses of victims of stalking and domestic violence.   Section 12502 entitled “Protecting Animals with Shelter,” amends certain parts of Title 18, U.S. Code, to provide protection for such animals.  Continue reading Farm Bill Protects Pets and Support Animals of Domestic Violence Victims

PETA Language Pointers Generate Controversy

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights organization known for attention-grabbing publicity stunts, recently launched a new campaign to rid the English language of idioms that the organization regards as offensive to animals.  Analogizing the matter to the use of “racist, homophobic  or ableist language,” PETA claimed that replacing phrases such as “bring home the bacon” with alternatives such as “bring home the bagels” would remove “speciesism” from daily conversations.   Continue reading PETA Language Pointers Generate Controversy