Tag Archives: animal law

Animal Rights Challenge to Fisheries Service Decision on Disclosure of Necropsies Dismissed by Federal District Court

By John M. Simpson.

On March 26, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit brought by certain animal rights advocates and organizations against several federal defendants challenging a decision of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) declining to enforce a permit condition allegedly requiring a marine mammal park to submit a necropsy report concerning a killer whale obtained the permit. Marino, et al. v. Nat’l Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin., et al., No. 18-cv-2750 (DLF) (D.D.C. Mar. 26, 2020). Continue reading Animal Rights Challenge to Fisheries Service Decision on Disclosure of Necropsies Dismissed by Federal District Court

National Zoo Elephant’s Passing Underscores Longevity of Captive Elephants

by John M. Simpson.

On March 28, 2020, the National Zoo announced the passing of one of the oldest Asian elephants maintained in a zoological environment. The elephant Ambika, who had resided at the National Zoo for 59 years was estimated to be 72 years old at the time of death. Continue reading National Zoo Elephant’s Passing Underscores Longevity of Captive Elephants

New York Court Denies Habeas Petition for Bronx Zoo Elephant

by John M. Simpson.

On February 18, 2020, a trial court in Bronx County, New York, denied a habeas corpus petition filed by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) on behalf of “Happy,” a 48-year old Asian elephant residing in the Bronx Zoo.  Nonhuman Rights Project v. Breheny, No. 260441/19 (N.Y. Sup. Ct., Bronx Cty. Feb. 18, 2020). The court ruled, based on binding New York precedent, that “Happy” is not a “person” for purposes of habeas corpus relief. Continue reading New York Court Denies Habeas Petition for Bronx Zoo Elephant

D.C. District Court Rejects Challenge to BLM Wild Horse Removal Decisions

by John M. Simpson.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently rejected claims challenging actions by the U.S. Department of Interior, acting through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to remove wild horses from an area of federal land in Nevada known as the Caliente Complex. In 2008, BLM issued a resource management plan (RMP) for the area that, due to wild hors e overpopulation and the ecological effects that stemmed therefrom, effectively set an appropriate management level of wild horses as zero for the entire Complex.  BLM thereupon removed horses from the Complex, but due to overpopulation and ecological imbalance, BLM determined in 2018 that all wild horses be removed (2018 Gather Decision).  Plaintiffs challenged both actions as contrary to the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WHBA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The court granted summary judgment for the federal defendants and dismissed all claims.   American Wild Horse Campaign v. Bernhardt, No. 18-1529 (BAH) (D.D.C. Feb. 13, 2020). Continue reading D.C. District Court Rejects Challenge to BLM Wild Horse Removal Decisions

D.C. District Court Dismisses Endangered Species Act Case for Lack of Article III Standing

by John M. Simpson.

A U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia recently dismissed a lawsuit brought under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the federal Administrative Procedure Act by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) against the Secretary of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).  Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt, No. 18-2576 (RC) (D.D.C. Feb. 12, 2020).  CBD asserted that FWS’s guidelines for species-specific species status assessments (SSA’s) were issued without the requisite notice and comment.  The guidelines for species-specific SSA’s provide an analytical framework for the agency’s listing and critical habitat decisions under the ESA.  The court dismissed the case for lack of Article III standing. Continue reading D.C. District Court Dismisses Endangered Species Act Case for Lack of Article III Standing

Mental Health Service Dog Bill For Veterans Passes House

by John M. Simpson.

On February 5, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, by voice vote, H.R. 4305, entitled the “Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers for Veterans Therapy Act” or “PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act.”  If the bill becomes law it would establish a pilot program in which grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs would be made to assess the “effectiveness of addressing post-deployment mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder … symptoms through a therapeutic medium of training service dogs for veterans with disabilities.”  Among other things, grantee organizations would ensure that participating veterans would receive “training from certified service dog training instructors for a period of time determined appropriate … including service skills to address or alleviate symptoms unique to veterans’ needs.” Continue reading Mental Health Service Dog Bill For Veterans Passes House

PETA Animal “Shelter” Continues to Show High Euthanization Rate

by John M. Simpson.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is well known for its publicity-seeking tactics.  Over the past Super Bowl weekend, PETA generated controversy with a commercial that it claims was rejected by the Fox Network which depicted cartoon animals “taking a knee” during the National Anthem.  The social media response was not positive.  Some critics saw this as trivializing and misappropriating Colin Kaepernick’s protest activities or trivializing the civil rights movement in general.  During this same period, PETA’s founder, Ingrid Newkirk, went on record claiming that calling a pet a “pet” is offensive and disrespectful and tantamount to calling a woman “honey” or “sweetie,” drawing another offensive comparison — this time between dog or cat ownership and sexual discrimination and harassment. Continue reading PETA Animal “Shelter” Continues to Show High Euthanization Rate

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

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