Pending Federal Actions
“Real MEAT” Bill Companion Introduced in Senate
A Senate companion to the House Real MEAT (Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully) Act has been introduced in the Senate by Republican Deb Fischer. The bills propose to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require that any “imitation meat food product, beef, or beef product” both be labeled with the word “imitation” immediately before or after the name of the food in uniform size and prominence and include a “statement that clearly indicates the product is not derived from or does not contain meat.”
Case Law Updates
Federal Case Law Updates
Attorney Does Not Have Standing to Challenge IP He Finds “Demeaning” to Animals
An attorney who has challenged the intellectual property of a restaurant known for displaying a herd of goats grazing on its roof does not have standing to pursue the challenge, the Federal Circuit has affirmed. The attorney, Todd Bank, petitioned to cancel the restaurant’s trade dress on the basis that it was “demeaning” to the goats and injures the “respect, dignity, and worth of animals.” The Federal Circuit, affirming the decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board, found that Bank did not “suggest he maintained a direct and personal stake in the outcome” of the case and was ordered to pay the restaurant’s attorney fees for filing a “frivolous” appeal.
Federal Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Barring Implementation of Arkansas Labeling Law
A federal judge in Arkansas has granted a preliminary injunction that prevents the state from enforcing a law that bans using terms like “burger” and “sausage” to sell plant-based products against Tofurky while the constitutionality of the law is decided. The plant-based company filed suit against Arkansas in July, arguing that the law is an unconstitutional restriction on commercial speech.
Bird Groups Argue Wind Farm Could Harm Birds
Two conservation groups, the American Bird Conservancy and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, filed suit against the United States Department of Energy and the Army Corps of Engineers, arguing that the environmental review of a proposed wind farm on Lake Erie was insufficient because it did not properly consider the harm the turbines could cause to birds.
Jury Acquits Egg Industry of Price Fixing Charges
A federal jury in Pennsylvania has rejected claims that egg producer Rose Acre Farms Inc. participated in an industry conspiracy to give hens used to produce eggs more cage space as a pretext for reducing the supply of eggs.
State Case Law Updates
Exxon Cleared of Fraud Claims in New York
Exxon Mobile Corporation has been cleared of accusations that it deceived its investors about climate change related risks of its business. The state court judge who presided over the trial said that the state failed to prove that the company made any material misstatements or omissions that misled any reasonable investor, but that the decision is not intended to “absolve” the company of responsibility for its contributions to climate change.
NMFS Issues Permit to Brookfield Zoo to Import Bottlenose Dolphins
The National Marine Fisheries Service announced that it has issued a permit to the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois to import “up to” three bottlenose dolphins to be publicly displayed. The captive-born dolphins will be imported from Dolphin Quest Bermuda.
FWS Seeks Comments on Foreign Endangered Species Permit Applications
The Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting comments on applications it has received related to foreign animals listed under the Endangered Species Act. Triple D Game Farm has applied for a captive-bred wildlife registration for snow leopards and Amur leopards; Palfram Ranch Management has applied for a captive-bred wildlife registration for barasingha (a deer species native to India) and red lechwe (an antelope species native to Africa); New Jersey Aquarium has applied for a captive-bred wildlife registration for African penguins; Happy Hollow Zoo has applied for a captive-bred wildlife registration for Parma wallaby; and Potter Park Zoo has applied for a captive-bred wildlife registration for black rhinoceros, golden lion tamarin, tigers, snow leopards, mandrills, cottontop marmosets, and African lions. Four individuals have applied for permits to import sport-hunted trophies from South Africa. The agency is accepting comments until January 13, 2020.
Ability to Recognize Animals’ Emotions Depends on Cultural Upbringing
An article in Scientific Reports claims that humans’ ability to recognize emotions in nonhuman animals—specifically, dogs—depends largely on humans’ exposure to a culture in which those animals were valued.
Peak Meat Consumption Must Occur Within Decade, Scientists Warn
Over fifty scientists have signed a letter published in the Lancet Journal of Planetary Health calling on governments to set limits on animal farming in order to comply with targets set by the Paris Agreement. According to these scientists, worldwide meat consumption must peak and then decline within the next ten years in order to meet those goals.
Fifty-Seven Percent of Americans Think Factory Farms Need More Oversight
A poll conducted by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future found that over half of Americans think that either a lot or a little more oversight is needed of factory farms. The study also found that a plurality of individuals think there should be a national moratorium on any more CAFOs.