Animal Rights Groups Don’t Want FSIS to Mandate Identification of Lab-Grown Meat Production Process on Product Labels

By Michelle C. Pardo

Four animal rights groups have submitted a joint public comment in response to the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on the labeling of meat and poultry products comprised of or containing cultured cells derived from animals subject to the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act.

While cell-cultured or lab grown meat (also referred to as “clean meat” or “fake meat”) has been in the headlines for years, the road to federal regulation of such products and their debut on store shelves is still a work in progress.  We previously blogged about animal rights groups’ efforts to stop state consumer fraud laws from limiting their ability to label and market lab-grown, insect or plant-based foods.  (Read those blog entries here; here; here; and here).  But, the bigger stakes (steaks?) regarding meat labeling are set to occur at the federal level during the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)’s rulemaking. Continue reading “Animal Rights Groups Don’t Want FSIS to Mandate Identification of Lab-Grown Meat Production Process on Product Labels”

North Carolina Jury Hands Down Felony Convictions for Animal Activist’s “Open Rescue”

by Michelle C. Pardo

Wayne Hsiung, animal activist and co-founder of Berkeley, CA-based animal rights group, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), was found guilty by jury of felony larceny after breaking and entering and felony breaking and entering, for taking a goat from the Sospiro Goat Ranch in Transylvania County, North Carolina, back in 2018.

Hsiung, who had spearheaded DxE’s “open rescues” – illegally entering agriculture properties without permission and taking animals to liberate them – had been charged with criminal conduct in multiple jurisdictions.  In the North Carolina case, Hsiung claimed that he and the other DxE “investigators” entered the ranch to identify animals that were diseased or suffering from neglect.  According to the goat ranch, at the time of the “rescue” the baby goat was living with its mother and healthy and nursing well at the time of its theft. Continue reading “North Carolina Jury Hands Down Felony Convictions for Animal Activist’s “Open Rescue””

Maine “Right to Food” Constitutional Amendment On the Ballot

by Michelle C. Pardo

Maine voters will go to the polls today to vote up or down on whether to support a  “right to food.”   Today’s ballot will ask voters to decide if they want to amend the state constitution to include a right to:

“declare that all individuals have a natural, inherent and unalienable right to grow, raise, harvest, produce and consume the food of their choosing for their own nourishment, sustenance, bodily health and well-being”

Maine would be the first state to codify a right to food.  Supporters of the amendment have said that approval of the amendment will “enshrine in the most fundamental form of law their right to make their own choices when feeding themselves and their families” and also will “promote locally produced food products and improve consumer health and safety.” Continue reading “Maine “Right to Food” Constitutional Amendment On the Ballot”

Animal Rights Group’s “Purely Speculative” Changes to Wildlife Management Plan Don’t Support Emergency Relief for Tule Elk

By Michelle C. Pardo

On June 22, 2021, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and three individuals (represented by Harvard University’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic) brought an Administrative Procedure Act (APA) case against the Secretary of the Interior, the Acting Director of the National Park Service, and the Superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore, regarding what plaintiffs allege is the federal government’s inhumane management practices of Tule elk, a species of elk native to California. At issue: the government’s alleged failure to revise the 1980 General Management Plan for the Tomales Point portion of the Point Reyes National Seashore (located in Marin County, California) where 293 Tule elk live as well as the 1998 Tule Elk Management Plan, which provided for elk restoration and conservation. Continue reading “Animal Rights Group’s “Purely Speculative” Changes to Wildlife Management Plan Don’t Support Emergency Relief for Tule Elk”

Animal Rights Group Sues USDA Over “Non-Enforcement” of Animal Welfare Act

By Michelle C. Pardo

Earlier this month, animal rights group The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) filed a lawsuit under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for what it alleges to be the agency’s non-enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) as it pertains to commercially bred dogs. ASPCA v. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, et al. (1:21-cv-01600) (D.D.C.). Continue reading “Animal Rights Group Sues USDA Over “Non-Enforcement” of Animal Welfare Act”

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”

Federal Legislation Requiring “Petfax” Aims to Improve Pet Buying Process

by Michelle C. Pardo

This week, Congressmen Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) introduced the Petfax Act (H.R. 5715), legislation designed to bring more transparency to the condition of pets being sold by sellers and breeders.

The term “Petfax,” which appears to be a take on the trademarked name and service “Carfax” that aids automobile buyers in providing a vehicle’s history, such as ownership, accidents, and repairs, is described as mandating “honesty and transparency in the commercial sale of dogs and cats.”  The legislation is the third in a series of “anti-puppy mill” bills introduced in this Congress.  The divisive term “puppy mill” has been used as to refer to dogs bred in large-scale, commercial dog breeding operations. Continue reading “Federal Legislation Requiring “Petfax” Aims to Improve Pet Buying Process”

This Little Piggy Went to Court

by Michelle C. Pardo

We previously blogged about the animal rights’ movement’s attempts to convince various U.S. courts to allow animals the same rights as people in the court system.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal’s (PETA’s) failed “monkey selfie” case, an effort to convince a federal court to rule that the crested macaque had standing under the Copyright Act, was not only dismissed, but earned PETA a sharp rebuke from the Ninth Circuit, when the court determined that the activist group seemingly employed Naruto the monkey as “an unwitting pawn it its ideological goals.”  Now PETA has taken its “animal personhood” crusade internationally. Continue reading “This Little Piggy Went to Court”

Court Rejects Tofurky’s Request for Preliminary Injunction to Halt Enforcement of Missouri’s Meat Advertising Law

By Michelle C. Pardo

We previously blogged about the case of Turtle Island Foods, et al. v. Mark Richardson, 2:18-cv-04173, pending in federal court in the Western District of Missouri. Turtle Island Foods, doing business as The Tofurky Company (“Tofurky”) which produces plant-based products, together with The Good Food Institute (an organization founded in part by Bruce Friedrich, former director of PETA’s vegan campaigns), sued Missouri prosecutors over its 2018 amended meat advertising law. The law requires that in order for a product to be labeled as “meat” it must come from “any edible portion of livestock, poultry, or captive cervid carcass or part thereof.” Mo. Rev. Stat. § 265.300(7). Under the amended law, plant based products, such as Tofurky’s veggie burgers or sausage, would be deemed to be misleading unless the labels contain an appropriate qualifier such as “plant-based,” “veggie,” “lab grown,” or “lab created.” Lab-grown or cultured meat products (also referred to as “clean meat”) is a new technology in which meat is grown from in vitro animal cell culture instead of from slaughtered animals. These products have not yet debuted in the marketplace. Continue reading “Court Rejects Tofurky’s Request for Preliminary Injunction to Halt Enforcement of Missouri’s Meat Advertising Law”

Buttonwood Park Zoo Defeats Endangered Species Act Lawsuit

by Michelle C. Pardo

We previously blogged about an Endangered Species Act (ESA) lawsuit which pitted an animal rights activist against the Buttonwood Park Zoo (owned and operated by the City of New Bedford, Massachusetts). The zoo’s two elephants, Emily and Ruth, approximately 55 and 61 years old, respectively, have spent the greater part of their lives at Buttonwood Park. In 2017, longtime zoo patron Joyce Rowley, an animal rights activist who runs Friends of Ruth & Emily, an organization “dedicated to retiring Asian elephants Ruth and Emily from Buttonwood Park Zoo,” brought a lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court against the zoo. Rowley claimed that the zoo was committing an illegal “take” of the elephants when it failed to provide them with, among other things, adequate veterinary care and socialization, including a failure to protect one of the elephants from its more aggressive elephant companion. Her requested relief included confiscation of the elephants and relocating them to an elephant “sanctuary.” Continue reading “Buttonwood Park Zoo Defeats Endangered Species Act Lawsuit”