Tag Archives: animal law

“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

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

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

RSPCA Warns Against Feeding Vegan Diets to Cats

By John M. Simpson.

As reported by certain outlets (here and here), the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) recently warned that feeding a house cat a vegan diet (i.e., no meat) could violate the UK’s Animal Welfare Act.  The RSPCA’s warning apparently came after several vendors at the National Pet Show in Birmingham in November displayed the latest in vegan pet food and non-meat pet food alternatives.  Continue reading RSPCA Warns Against Feeding Vegan Diets to Cats

U.S. Supreme Court Decides Dusky Gopher Frog Case

By John M. Simpson.

On November 27, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in a closely watched Endangered Species Act (ESA) case involving the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS’s) designation of “critical habitat” for an endangered species known as the “dusky gopher frog” (Rana sevosa).  Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 586 U.S. ___, No. 17-71 (Nov. 27, 2018). The Court reversed the Fifth Circuit’s decision which had upheld the FWS designation. Continue reading U.S. Supreme Court Decides Dusky Gopher Frog Case

New York Court of Appeals Tosses Kaporos Animal Cruelty Case

by John M. Simpson

On November 14, 2018, the New York Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a mandamus petition seeking to enforce certain state animal cruelty laws against the practice of Kaporos.  The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, et al. v. New York City Police Dep’t, et al., No. 126 (N.Y. Nov. 14, 2018).   The Court of Appeals ruled that the “extraordinary remedy” of mandamus was not available because “[e]nforcement of the laws cited by plaintiffs would involve some exercise of discretion …” and plaintiffs “do not seek to compel the performance of ministerial duties but, rather, seek to compel a particular outcome.”  Id., slip. op. 2, 3 (citations omitted). Continue reading New York Court of Appeals Tosses Kaporos Animal Cruelty Case