Denial of Habeas Relief for Bronx Zoo Elephant Affirmed on Appeal

On December 17, 2020, a New York intermediate appellate court rejected an attempt by the animal rights organization, Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP), to obtain habeas corpus relief for a 48-year old Asian elephant named “Happy,” who resides at the Bronx Zoo.  In re Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Breheny, Case No. 2020-02581 (Sup. Ct. App. Div. 1st Dept. Dec. 17, 2020). Continue reading “Denial of Habeas Relief for Bronx Zoo Elephant Affirmed on Appeal”

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”

PETA Offers Unconvincing Defense For The High Kill Rate In Its “Shelter”

by John M. Simpson.

As we have written before (here and here), the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), operates a facility in Norfolk, Virginia that it calls an animal “shelter.”  Every public and private animal shelter in the Commonwealth of Virginia is required, annually, to submit a report to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) that details the number of animals that the shelter took in during the year and what happened to them.  PETA’s  most recent report (for 2019) revealed that PETA euthanized dogs and cats at rates that far exceeded the average rates for all private animal shelters in Virginia.  The PETA euthanasia rate for dogs was more than thirteen times the average rate for private shelters, and PETA’s euthanasia rate for cats was more than eleven times the average rate for private shelters. Continue reading “PETA Offers Unconvincing Defense For The High Kill Rate In Its “Shelter””

California Federal Court Serves Up a Win to Foie Gras Producers

by Michelle C. Pardo

In 2004, after a strong push from animal rights activists, California banned the production and sale of foie gras, a luxury gourmet food and traditional French delicacy that is made from duck or geese liver.   See CA Health & Safety Code, Section 25982 (“A product may not be sold in California if it is the result of force feeding a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond a normal size.”).  The ban went into effect in 2012.  Years of litigation by a restaurant operator and a coalition of foie gras producers, which challenged the law as vague and unreasonably interfering with interstate commerce, had been unsuccessful.  In 2017, the Ninth Circuit upheld the statute, and last year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear arguments in the foie gras industry’s challenge to the ban.

This week Stephen V. Wilson, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, granted plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and ruled that the ban did not cover the shipment of foie gras by out-of-state producers to California customers. Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec et al. v. Kamala J. Harris, et al. (2:12-cv-05735-SVW-RZ) (C.D. Cal. July 14, 2020).  Continue reading “California Federal Court Serves Up a Win to Foie Gras Producers”

Animal Rights Challenge to FWS Sport Trophy Decision Fails in D.C. Circuit

by John M. Simpson.

In Center for Biological Diversity v. Bernhardt, ___ F.3d ___, No. 19-5152 (D.C. Cir. June 16, 2020), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently affirmed a district court’s rejection of a challenge by animal rights groups to a decision by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) to withdraw blanket findings as to whether the importation under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of certain sport trophies of “threatened” species taken in other countries would enhance the survival and not be detrimental to the survival of those species. Continue reading “Animal Rights Challenge to FWS Sport Trophy Decision Fails in D.C. Circuit”

Habeas Corpus Petition For Elephant Strikes Out Again

by John M. Simpson.

The Connecticut Appellate Court recently rejected yet another attempt by the animal rights group Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. (NHRP) to free an elephant in private ownership through the device of a petition for habeas corpus.  Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. R. W. Commerford & Sons, Inc., No. AC 42795 (Conn. App. May 19, 2020). Continue reading “Habeas Corpus Petition For Elephant Strikes Out Again”

While COVID-19 Spreads, PETA Spreads Misinformation On Animal Testing

by John M. Simpson.

The animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment (PETA) is well known for attention-grabbing tactics.  Even in “normal” times, PETA can be counted on to push the envelope (or break through it entirely).  As non-animal humans worldwide suffer through the current COVID-19 pandemic, PETA has seized upon the crisis to promote its animal rights agenda, including the organization’s long-standing opposition to the use of animals in testing the safety and efficacy of drugs and vaccines to cure and prevent human disease.  PETA has made several recent statements suggesting the coming demise of animal testing that are quite misleading. Continue reading “While COVID-19 Spreads, PETA Spreads Misinformation On Animal Testing”

Ninth Circuit Rejects Activist Appeal in Endangered Dugong Case

by John M. Simpson.

On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the government in a case brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and other plaintiffs to challenge a decision by the Department of Defense (DOD) approving a plan to construct a replacement aircraft base in Okinawa, Japan, for the U.S. Marine Corps.  Center for Biological Diversity v. Esper, __ F.3d __, No. 18-16836 (9th Cir. May 6, 2020).  In this case, which had originated in 2003, the issue was whether DOD had complied with section 402 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 54 U.S.C. § 307101(e). Continue reading “Ninth Circuit Rejects Activist Appeal in Endangered Dugong Case”

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”