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”

APHIS Dusts Off Animal Handling Contingency Planning Rules

Today, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued advance notice that, on June 25, 2021, the agency will publish notice in the Federal Register of its intention to implement regulations, adopted in 2012, that require entities subject to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to have contingency plans for handling animals in the event of possible emergencies or disasters.  The rules, which had been prompted by events during the 2005 hurricane season, had been stayed by APHIS since July 31, 2013 based on claims by small entities that these regulatory requirements were excessive. Continue reading “APHIS Dusts Off Animal Handling Contingency Planning Rules”

COVID-19: USDA Confirms First U.S. Case of SARS-CoV-2 in Pet Dog

by John M. Simpson.

On June 2, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in a pet dog in New York state.  The dog, a German shepherd, had shown signs of respiratory illness and samples were taken and confirmed to be positive for the virus by the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories. Continue reading “COVID-19: USDA Confirms First U.S. Case of SARS-CoV-2 in Pet Dog”

USDA Issues Amendments to Animal Welfare Act Licensing Regulations

by John M. Simpson.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) published final amendments to the regulations governing the licensing of animal dealers, exhibitors and operators of auction sales under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq. Continue reading “USDA Issues Amendments to Animal Welfare Act Licensing Regulations”

CDC Confirms 2 Companion Animals in U.S. with SARS-CoV-2 Virus

by John M. Simpson.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today that two pet cats at undisclosed locations in the State of New York are confirmed to be positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that characterizes the human disease COVID-19.  These are the first cases of companion animals (pets) in the U.S. confirmed to have the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Continue reading “CDC Confirms 2 Companion Animals in U.S. with SARS-CoV-2 Virus”

International Scientific Advisory Group Continues Its Focus on SARS-CoV-2 and Animals

by John M. Simpson.

On April 7, 2020, the Informal Advisory Group on COVID-19 and Animals of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) conducted the fifth in a series of conference calls concerning issues involving the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its effect on animals and animal-related issues.  SARS-CoV-2 is the scientific nomenclature for the coronavirus that causes the human illness known as COVID-19. Continue reading “International Scientific Advisory Group Continues Its Focus on SARS-CoV-2 and Animals”

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”

HSUS Gets Mixed Result in D.C. FOIA Case

by John M. Simpson.

On June 3, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted in part and denied in part cross-motions for summary judgment in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) had brought against the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, et al. (APHIS).  Humane Soc’y of the U.S. v. Animal and Plant Health Insp. Serv., et al., No. 1:18-cv-00646 (TNM) (D.D.C. June 3, 2019).  HSUS’s FOIA request was for site-inspection reports and other inspection records for specific animal dealers and exhibitors who are subject to regulation by APHIS under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Continue reading “HSUS Gets Mixed Result in D.C. FOIA Case”

APHIS to Involve Attending Vets Directly in Inspections

by John M. Simpson.

In a recent letter and an accompanying video directed at veterinarians, the Deputy Administrator for Animal Care of the USDA Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS), Bernadette Juarez, described a new initiative that will involve attending veterinarians more directly in APHIS inspections of persons and entities licensed under the Animal Welfare Act. Continue reading “APHIS to Involve Attending Vets Directly in Inspections”