Passed Federal Actions
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.
Pending Federal Actions
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.
Case Law Updates
Federal Case Law Updates
Federal Judge Declines to Stop Implementation of California Animal Protection Law
A federal judge in California refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the state to stop it from implementing the animal welfare law passed last year. Known as Proposition 12, the law bans certain confinement practices used in animal agriculture and outlaws the sale of products in the state produced using those practices (even if produced in states where the practices are legal). The North American Meat Institute filed suit against the state to stop the implementation of the law, alleging that the law would harm producers and violate the Commerce Clause.
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.
FSIS Denies AWI Petitions Regarding Humane Handling of Poultry
The Food Safety and Inspection Service has denied the Animal Welfare Institute’s requests for the agency to both initiate rulemaking regarding the humane handling of poultry and to revise regulations to prevent otherwise avoidable deaths by means other than slaughter. The agency denied the requests based on the argument that it lacks authority under the Poultry Products Inspection Act to take such actions.
FWS Proposes to Reclassify Endangered June Sucker to Threatened
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to reclassify a currently endangered fish, the June sucker, to threatened. The agency is accepting comments on this proposal until January 27, 2020.
FWS Proposes to Delist Nashville Crayfish
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to remove the Nashville crayfish from the list of federally protected endangered and threatened species. The agency is accepting comments on this proposal until January 27, 2020.
Extended Comment Period for Humpback Whale Habitat Designations
The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced it is extending the comment period for its proposal to designate critical habitat for the Central America, Mexico, and Western North Pacific distinct population segments of humpback whales, originally published on Octber 9. The comment period is now open until January 31, 2020.
FWS Proposes to Designate Critical Habitat for Suwannee Moccasinshell
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to designate critical habitat for the Suwannee moccasinshell, a freshwater mussel species, in Florida and Georgia. The comment period is open until January 27, 2020.
Alberta Passes Ag-Gag Bill
Alberta has passed a law, Bill 27, that expands current trespass law to further criminalize actions that seek to expose cruelty on factory farming operations. The law increases penalties for trespassing and makes being on a property illegal if permission to be there was obtained by false pretenses. Read more coverage of the law by Animal Justice here.
Article Addresses Viability of Cellular Agricultural Solutions
A new article by Hanna Tuomisto examines the ability of cellular agriculture in addressing pressing environmental and food security issues given the nascency of the technology.