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”

9th Circuit Rejects Animal Rights Organization’s Claim That a Bengal Tiger is an “Individual” Under FOIA

by John M. Simpson.

Yesterday, in Animal Legal Defense Fund v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, et al., ___ F.3d ___, No. 18-16327 (9th Cir. Aug. 12, 2019), the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a summary judgment of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California holding that a Bengal tiger is not an “individual” within the meaning of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).   The case had been brought by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) denied ALDF’s request for expedited treatment of its FOIA request for records concerning an inspection request regarding a tiger named “Tony.”     Continue reading “9th Circuit Rejects Animal Rights Organization’s Claim That a Bengal Tiger is an “Individual” Under FOIA”

Michelle Pardo Interviewed on The Lars Larson Show

Michelle PardoThe Lars Larson Show interviewed Duane Morris partner Michelle Pardo in a podcast interview titled, “Do Animals and Humans Have a ‘Right to Wilderness?'” Michelle discussed ALDF et al. v. United States, which she also discusses in her blog post, “Animal Activist Group Loses ‘Right to Wilderness’ Lawsuit.

To listen to Michelle’s interview, please visit The Lars Larson Show website.

Significant U.S. Supreme Court FOIA Decision Likely To Complicate Activist Agendas

by John M. Simpson.

As many lawyers representing animal-related businesses regulated by U.S. federal government agencies can attest to, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation by animal activist interests has become what amounts to a cottage industry.  Animal activist groups are prolific in their FOIA requests to various federal animal-related agencies — such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which regulates animal exhibitors and researchers under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) — for information on the persons and entities subject to USDA regulation.  This quest for business information typically unfolds as follows:  a business will mark its internal commercial and financial information “confidential” when submitting it to the agency in connection with an agency proceeding; the information is then requested through FOIA; the agency withholds it under FOIA Exemption 4; and then the fight becomes whether the release of the information will inflict “substantial competitive harm” on the submitter.  This all changed today with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, No. 18-481, Slip opinion (U.S. June 24, 2019).  Continue reading “Significant U.S. Supreme Court FOIA Decision Likely To Complicate Activist Agendas”

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”

Animal Rights Activists v. Big Agriculture: Who Gets to Claim Ownership of the Term “Meat”

by Michelle C. Pardo

We previously blogged about a legal challenge to Missouri’s amended advertising law that regulates what products are permitted to use the term “meat”.  Nebraska is the latest state to consider legislation that aims to define what can be marketed and sold as “meat”. This year, Nebraska lawmakers will consider a bill that defines meat as “any edible portion of any livestock or poultry, carcass, or part thereof.”  Excluded from the definition of meat: “lab-grown or insect or plant-based food products.” (Yes, you read that right. Edible insects are apparently on trend and being promoted as an “efficient, sustainable source of protein and nutrients”). Continue reading “Animal Rights Activists v. Big Agriculture: Who Gets to Claim Ownership of the Term “Meat””

“Fake Meat” Discussed at Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting

by John M. Simpson.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), a prominent non-governmental organization in the U.S. representing farm and ranch families, held its annual meeting earlier this month in New Orleans.  Among the topics discussed (in addition to the address by President Trump), was the increase in “alternative protein” production, namely meat-like substances that are derived from plant ingredients or that are cell-based and grown in a laboratory from animal cells.  Plant-based “meat” products (e.g., “tofurky”) are currently available at retail.  Cell-cultured “meat” products are not yet available but could be seen in 2019. Continue reading ““Fake Meat” Discussed at Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting”

Animal Welfare or Anti-Semitism?

By John M. Simpson.

The New York Times recently reported on an interesting (and unsettling) animal law development in a European Union member country.  According to the report, an area of Belgium – Flanders – adopted a law that eliminates any religious exception to the otherwise generally applicable animal welfare law requirement that an animal harvested for food be stunned prior to slaughter.   The law took effect as of the first of the year, and is similar to a measure adopted in the Belgian region of Wallonia that will take effect in September. Continue reading “Animal Welfare or Anti-Semitism?”

Eighth Circuit Upholds Trump Administration’s Scuttling of Packers and Stockyards Act Rules

By John M. Simpson.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently denied a petition for review of the Secretary of Agriculture’s actions to withdraw interim final and proposed regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act (PSA).  Organization for Competitive Markets, et al., v. Dep’t of Agriculture, et al., No. 17-3723 (8th Cir. Dec. 21, 2018).  The  interim final and proposed rules had been issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the Obama Administration in late 2016 but were scuttled by the Trump Administration.  Continue reading “Eighth Circuit Upholds Trump Administration’s Scuttling of Packers and Stockyards Act Rules”

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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