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 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 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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

Federal Legislation Requiring “Petfax” Aims to Improve Pet Buying Process

by Michelle C. Pardo

This week, Congressmen Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) introduced the Petfax Act (H.R. 5715), legislation designed to bring more transparency to the condition of pets being sold by sellers and breeders.

The term “Petfax,” which appears to be a take on the trademarked name and service “Carfax” that aids automobile buyers in providing a vehicle’s history, such as ownership, accidents, and repairs, is described as mandating “honesty and transparency in the commercial sale of dogs and cats.”  The legislation is the third in a series of “anti-puppy mill” bills introduced in this Congress.  The divisive term “puppy mill” has been used as to refer to dogs bred in large-scale, commercial dog breeding operations. Continue reading “Federal Legislation Requiring “Petfax” Aims to Improve Pet Buying Process”

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