APHIS Initiates Rulemaking on Handling of Wild and Exotic Animals

On January 6, 2023, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) and request for comments as to potential amendments to Animal Welfare Act regulations  governing exhibitors.  The ANPR solicits public comments  on APHIS’ “plan to strengthen regulations regarding the handling of wild and exotic animals for exhibition, as well as the training of personnel involved in the handling of wild and exotic animals, and to establish standards addressing environmental enrichment for all regulated animals.”

Continue reading “APHIS Initiates Rulemaking on Handling of Wild and Exotic Animals”

Animal Rights Challenge to Cartoon Poultry Product Labels Fails

A federal court in Washington, D.C. recently tossed a lawsuit brought by the animal rights group, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) challenging poultry products labels that had been approved by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.   The court determined that ALDF had no standing to sue.  ALDF v. Vilsack, No. 1-21-cv-01539 (CJN) (D.D.C. Nov. 14, 2022). Continue reading “Animal Rights Challenge to Cartoon Poultry Product Labels Fails”

COVID-19 In Animals Continues To Be Minor Issue In U.S.

While the overwhelming focus of the COVID-19 pandemic has been on the effect that the virus has had on humankind, there have been documented cases of the SARS-CoV-2 virus infecting animals.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) tracks the incidence of the the virus in animals in the U.S.   That analysis continues to show that infection in animals is quite small. Continue reading “COVID-19 In Animals Continues To Be Minor Issue In U.S.”

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”

Activist Case Involving Chicken Farm Fails in D.C. Circuit on Standing Grounds

On June 22, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed an action brought by Food & Water Watch against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) challenging the environmental assessment made in connection with the Farm Service Agency’s guarantee of loan to a Maryland chicken farmer.  Food & Water Watch v. U.S. Dep’t of Agriculture, ___ F.3d ___, No. 20-5100 (D.C. Cir. June 22, 2021).  Plaintiff had argued that the agency’s finding of no significant impact for the guarantee violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The district court found standing to sue but rejected the plaintiff’s challenge on its merits.  On appeal, however, the D.C. Circuit ruled that the plaintiff had no Article III standing. Continue reading “Activist Case Involving Chicken Farm Fails in D.C. Circuit on Standing Grounds”

Ninth Circuit Bounces Consumer’s Claim of Misleading Poultry Product Labeling

On June 4, 2021, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative state law consumer class action claiming that chicken products marketed by Trade Joe’s were mislabeled.  Webb v. Trader Joe’s Co., ___ F.3d ___,  No. 19-56389 (9th Cir. June 4, 2021).  The labels stated that the products contained “[u]p to 5% retained water,” but plaintiff claimed that an independent laboratory test showed that the products “contained on average, 9% Retained Water.”  Slip op. at 5.  The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that all of plaintiff’s claims were pre-empted by the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), 21 U.S.C. § 467e. Continue reading “Ninth Circuit Bounces Consumer’s Claim of Misleading Poultry Product Labeling”

D.C. Circuit Ducks Constitutionality of USDA ALJ’s — For Now

A divided three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently decided a significant case for those animal-related businesses who are subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Fleming v. U.S. Dep’t of Agriculture, No. 17-1246, 1249 & 1250 (D.C. Cir. Feb. 16, 2021). Continue reading “D.C. Circuit Ducks Constitutionality of USDA ALJ’s — For Now”

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”

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