“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”

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”

A Horse is a Horse (Of Course) . . .But a Plaintiff?

by: Michelle C. Pardo

“Justice” (formerly named “Shadow”) is an American Quarter Horse who had been subject to neglect by his prior owner. According to a complaint recently filed in state court in Oregon, the horse was left outside, underfed, and suffered from a variety of serious medical problems, including frostbite, trauma and infection. After complaints by a neighbor, the former owner surrendered Justice to a rescue organization back in March of 2017 and thereafter pleaded guilty to criminal neglect.  The owner also agreed to pay restitution to the equine rescue organization for the costs of Justice’s care incurred prior to the plea. Media reports indicate that the owner paid more than $3,700 in restitution, was sentenced to three years probation, and may not possess any pets or livestock for five years (and only after completing 96 hours of community service). Typically, as disturbing as such court cases may be, that is the end of a legal proceeding involving animal abuse or neglect.

Justice’s story, however, has a “Part Two”. Justice is suing his former owner for negligence and has filed a lawsuit in his new name in a county court in Oregon. Continue reading “A Horse is a Horse (Of Course) . . .But a Plaintiff?”

Small Fish, Big Problems: Mazda Toyota meets the Spring Pygmy Sunfish and the Endangered Species Act

by: Michelle C. Pardo

On July 25, 2018, environmental activist group, the Center for Biological Diversity, sent a 60-day notice letter to Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (and other Toyota entities), the City of Huntsville, Alabama, and the Secretary of the Interior and the US Fish and Wildlife Service providing notice of its intent to sue for alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Center for Biological Diversity alleges that the construction and operation of a Toyota-Mazda automobile plant (“Auto Plant”) creates an illegal “take” of one of the two remaining populations of the endangered Spring Pygmy Sunfish (described as “an irreplaceable symbol of northern Alabama’s natural heritage”). The fish is alleged to live in the Beaverdam Spring and Creek Complex, which is adjacent to the Auto Plant site. Continue reading “Small Fish, Big Problems: Mazda Toyota meets the Spring Pygmy Sunfish and the Endangered Species Act”

Ninth Circuit Recently Slams PETA Over Monkey Selfie Lawsuit

Ninth Circuit Recently Slams PETA Over Monkey Selfie Lawsuit, Finding That PETA’s “Next Friend” Lawsuit Used Monkey as a “Pawn”

By: Michelle C. Pardo

As the old saying goes, “with friends like these, who needs enemies?”

Last year, animal activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), acting as a purported “next friend” of a Sulawesi crested macaque (named “Naruto”), brought a lawsuit in the Northern District of California against wildlife photographer David Slater and a self-publishing book company over a “selfie” that the macaque had taken when it grabbed wildlife photographer Slater’s camera.   PETA had alleged that the monkey, as author and owner of the photograph, had a claim for copyright infringement against defendants.  After finding that the monkey had constitutional standing, but no standing under the Copyright Act, the district court dismissed the case.  PETA appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit. Continue reading “Ninth Circuit Recently Slams PETA Over Monkey Selfie Lawsuit”