Animal Rights Groups Don’t Want FSIS to Mandate Identification of Lab-Grown Meat Production Process on Product Labels

By Michelle C. Pardo

Four animal rights groups have submitted a joint public comment in response to the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on the labeling of meat and poultry products comprised of or containing cultured cells derived from animals subject to the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act.

While cell-cultured or lab grown meat (also referred to as “clean meat” or “fake meat”) has been in the headlines for years, the road to federal regulation of such products and their debut on store shelves is still a work in progress.  We previously blogged about animal rights groups’ efforts to stop state consumer fraud laws from limiting their ability to label and market lab-grown, insect or plant-based foods.  (Read those blog entries here; here; here; and here).  But, the bigger stakes (steaks?) regarding meat labeling are set to occur at the federal level during the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)’s rulemaking. Continue reading “Animal Rights Groups Don’t Want FSIS to Mandate Identification of Lab-Grown Meat Production Process on Product Labels”

Animal Rights Group’s “Purely Speculative” Changes to Wildlife Management Plan Don’t Support Emergency Relief for Tule Elk

By Michelle C. Pardo

On June 22, 2021, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and three individuals (represented by Harvard University’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic) brought an Administrative Procedure Act (APA) case against the Secretary of the Interior, the Acting Director of the National Park Service, and the Superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore, regarding what plaintiffs allege is the federal government’s inhumane management practices of Tule elk, a species of elk native to California. At issue: the government’s alleged failure to revise the 1980 General Management Plan for the Tomales Point portion of the Point Reyes National Seashore (located in Marin County, California) where 293 Tule elk live as well as the 1998 Tule Elk Management Plan, which provided for elk restoration and conservation. Continue reading “Animal Rights Group’s “Purely Speculative” Changes to Wildlife Management Plan Don’t Support Emergency Relief for Tule Elk”

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”

Emotional Support Animals Lose Status on U.S. Flights

by Michelle C. Pardo

As Americans begin to ramp up air travel, they may notice less four-legged passengers on their flights.  On January 11, 2020, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new rules regarding service animals on flights went into effect and may have a material effect on the type and volume of animals that travel on domestic flights. Continue reading “Emotional Support Animals Lose Status on U.S. Flights”

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”

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”

Pets, Vets, and COVID-19

by Michelle C. Pardo

In these difficult pandemic times, medical talent and personal protective equipment (PPE) have become the most treasured and necessary resources as our nation battles this fast-moving virus.  States and municipalities have been forced to think outside the box to try to source more equipment and identify additional, trained professionals to address the escalating needs of those individuals and facilities treating COVID-19 patients. Continue reading “Pets, Vets, and COVID-19”

Court Rejects Tofurky’s Request for Preliminary Injunction to Halt Enforcement of Missouri’s Meat Advertising Law

By Michelle C. Pardo

We previously blogged about the case of Turtle Island Foods, et al. v. Mark Richardson, 2:18-cv-04173, pending in federal court in the Western District of Missouri. Turtle Island Foods, doing business as The Tofurky Company (“Tofurky”) which produces plant-based products, together with The Good Food Institute (an organization founded in part by Bruce Friedrich, former director of PETA’s vegan campaigns), sued Missouri prosecutors over its 2018 amended meat advertising law. The law requires that in order for a product to be labeled as “meat” it must come from “any edible portion of livestock, poultry, or captive cervid carcass or part thereof.” Mo. Rev. Stat. § 265.300(7). Under the amended law, plant based products, such as Tofurky’s veggie burgers or sausage, would be deemed to be misleading unless the labels contain an appropriate qualifier such as “plant-based,” “veggie,” “lab grown,” or “lab created.” Lab-grown or cultured meat products (also referred to as “clean meat”) is a new technology in which meat is grown from in vitro animal cell culture instead of from slaughtered animals. These products have not yet debuted in the marketplace. Continue reading “Court Rejects Tofurky’s Request for Preliminary Injunction to Halt Enforcement of Missouri’s Meat Advertising Law”

Will California Be the First to Ban Fur Sales Statewide?

by Michelle C. Pardo

The California legislature has passed a bill to ban the sale of new fur products anywhere within the state. The bill would make it unlawful to “sell, offer for sale, display for sale, trade, or otherwise distribute for monetary or nonmonetary consideration a fur product, as defined, in the state.” AB 44 (as amended). Should Governor Gavin Newsom sign AB44, California would be the first state in the nation to enact such legislation. Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Hollywood and Berkeley already have fur bans in place. Illegal items would include fur from undomesticated animals, including mink, rabbit and coyote.  The legislation excludes certain products, such as pelts or skins preserved through taxidermy, animal skin that is to be converted into leather, and fur products used for religious or traditional Native American tribal, cultural or spiritual purposes. The bill carries civil penalties. Continue reading “Will California Be the First to Ban Fur Sales Statewide?”

Goodbye Big Food, Hello Lawsuit: Animal Rights Group Files Case Over Dairy Product Marketing

By:  Michelle C. Pardo

Known for its “Dairy Done Right” marketing campaign, Tillamook County Creamery Association (“Tillamook”), which produces dairy products like cheese, yogurt, ice cream and butter, is the latest target of a consumer fraud lawsuit filed this week in Oregon state court (Multnomah County). Animal rights group Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is co-counsel to four Oregon residents and a class of similarly situated consumers who claim Tillamook uses deceptive representations when advertising and marketing its dairy products, which is likely to confuse or mislead customers. Continue reading “Goodbye Big Food, Hello Lawsuit: Animal Rights Group Files Case Over Dairy Product Marketing”