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Federal Judge Grants Temporary Restraining Order Against Washington Crab Fishing

A federal judge in Washington has granted a temporary restraining order against the Lummi Nation, prohibiting the tribe from taking part in a winter crab fishery. Other tribes challenged the Lummi Nation’s plans to take part in the fish in federal court in October.

Senate Bill Introduced to Revive Monarch and Pollinator Habitat

Senate Bill 2918 proposes to establish a federal grant program to fund pollinator-friendly practices and habitats along highways. The full text of the bill is not yet available.

Vegan Consumer Files Suit Over Contaminated Impossible Whopper

A Burger King consumer has filed a proposed class action against Burger King, claiming that the restaurant’s representations that the Impossible Whoppers were “0% beef,” when in fact they were cooked on “the same grills as its traditional meat products,” were misleading. The complaint alleges unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Ninth Circuit Reverses District Court’s Abstention on ESA Case

The Ninth Circuit has ruled that a California district court erred in abstaining from a suit brought by Friends of Oceano Dunes against California state officials on various grounds. The suit alleges that the California Coastal Commission’s permitting of dust control measures violate the Endangered Species Act by placing the western snowy plower, a protected bird under the Act, in danger.

Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Comments on ESA and MMPA Applications

The Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it is accepting comments on a number of permit applications it has received under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The applications include requests for permits to import samples of wild and captive ground pangolin to the University of Washington, export one loggerhead sea turtle to Sea Life London Aquarium, captive breed penguins and lemurs in a zoo in Minnesota, to import sport-hunted trophies of a South African antelope, and to import biological samples from wild-caught polar bears to Stanford University Medical Center. The agency is accepting comments on these applications until December 20, 2019.

FDA Announces Comment Period Extension Meeting On “A New Era of Smarter Food Safety”

The FDA has extended its comment period related to the public meeting held in October regarding the use of new and emerging technologies and upcoming innovation in the agricultural and other fields. One question on which the agency is requesting feedback relates to the safety of foods produced through new business models. Written comments will now be accepted until December 5, 2019.

FWS Announces Five Year Status Reviews of Albatross and Otter

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it will begin five year status reviews of the short-tailed albatross and the Southwest Alaska distinct population segment of the northern sea otter. The agency is requesting submission of “any new information” on these species since the last time such a review was completed. In order to ensure information is considered in the review, the agency must receive any submissions by January 21, 2020.

Federal Law Outlaws Creation and Distribution of Animal Crush Videos

President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that makes animal cruelty, specifically intentionally seriously harming an animal in the production of so-called “crush videos,” a federal crime. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act makes so-called “crushing” or the creation of “crush videos” punishable by a fine, a prison term up to seven years, or both. The law does not apply to customary animal management practices, the slaughter of animals for food, hunting or other sport killings not prohibited by Federal law, the use of animals in research and testing, measures taken to protect life or property of a person, or euthanasia of an animal. This law is meant to cure the deficiencies in a prior federal ban on crush videos that was struck down by the Supreme Court in United States v. Stevens.

Bill Proposes to Automatically Delist Species from Endangered Species Act Protections

The Endangered Species Accountability Reform Act would automatically delist species protected under the Endangered Species Act from those protections 5 years and 1 month after the species is originally listed for protections.

Potential Class Actions Against Fairlife Farms for Fraudulent Animal Welfare Representations

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that lawsuits seeking class action certification for consumers who were misled by Fairlife’s marketing regarding its treatment of cows used to produce dairy gathered in federal court in front of U.S. District Judge Robert Dow Jr. in Chicago. This follows an October order by the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordering the transfer of all such cases to the Northern District of Illinois.