Tag Archives: FOIA

A Bipartisan Challenge to Animal Experimentation

An advocacy group called the White Coat Waste Project has filed a lawsuit in federal court arguing that the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) has wrongfully withheld documents related to experiments conducted on cats at its Beltsville, Maryland Agricultural Research Center.  White Coat Waste Project v. United States Department of Agriculture, No. 1:18-cv-02070 (D.D.C.).  Using the federal Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), the White Coat Waste Project requested records related to the USDA’s “Toxoplasmosis in Cats” study, including veterinary records for all cats and kittens used in the experiment, as well as a complete project budget.  Having received no response to its FOIA request within the statutory time limit, the White Coat Waste Project filed the lawsuit seeking a declaration that the USDA’s failure to respond to its FOIA request was unlawful, ordering USDA to produce the requested records, and for its attorneys’ fees. Continue reading A Bipartisan Challenge to Animal Experimentation

D.C. Circuit Rejects PETA Nonhuman Primate FOIA Claim

by John M. Simpson

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently affirmed a summary judgment in favor of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which had denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for information about the importation of nonhuman primates.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Serv., No. 16-5269 (D.C. Cir. August, 17, 2018).  The appellate court agreed with the lower court that the release of such information would cause substantial competitive injury to the importers who had provided such information to HHS and therefore was properly withheld under FOIA Exemption 4, which exempts “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential” from disclosure.  5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4).   Continue reading D.C. Circuit Rejects PETA Nonhuman Primate FOIA Claim

Court Rules Bengal Tiger Is Not An “Individual” Under FOIA

by John M. Simpson

In Animal Legal Defense Fund v. U.S. Dep’t of Agriculture, 2018 WL 23987812 (N.D. Cal. May 25, 2018), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently granted summary judgment to the government in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in which the plaintiff challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “policy and practice of interpreting the statute to exclude nonhuman animals.”  The case arose out of a FOIA request by an animal rights organization for inspection records of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service concerning Tony the Tiger — a Bengal tiger maintained at a truck stop in Louisiana. Continue reading Court Rules Bengal Tiger Is Not An “Individual” Under FOIA