Pending Federal Actions
Bill Introduced to Prohibit the Import and Export of Animals Protected Under the ESA
The CECIL (Conserving Ecosystems by Ceasing the Importation of Large Animal Trophies Act) Act would amend the Endangered Species Act to ban all imports and exports of any animal listed or proposed to be listed as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act except when the country in which the animal was killed meets more rigorous standards of conservation efforts and transparency. The bill also proposes to prohibit all importations of elephants and lions from Tanzania, Zimbabwe, or Zambia.
Bill Would Permanently Allow the Taking of Double-Crested Cormorants
The Cormorant Relief Act would solidify existing regulations that allow commercial fish farming operations and Wildlife Services, among other groups, to take (by means of firearm) double-crested cormorants without a permit when the seabird has or is about to eat some of the farmed fish into federal law.
Bill Seeks to Narrow Use of Cats and Dogs Under AWA
The Pet Safety and Protection Act proposes to more narrowly define acceptable sources of dog and cat specimens under the Animal Welfare Act. The bill would define permissible sources for obtaining a dog or a cat to be used in research to include only licensed dealers, public animal shelters, a person who has bred and raised or owned the animal for at least one year, and research facilities.
Bill Would Authorize Additional Duck Hunting
The Migratory Bird Framework and Hunting Opportunities for Veterans Act would set the standard closing date of duck hunting season at January 31 (as opposed to allowing the states to select the closing date) and would allow states to open 4 additional days of hunting season open to youths and veterans seeking to hunt ducks, mergansers, and coots.
Bill Would Ban Shark Fin Sales
The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2019 would prohibit, except in cases of permitted takings used for non-commmerical purposes, the possession, sale, or purchase of any product containing shark fin. The bill would exempt smooth dogfish and spiny dogfish from the prohibition, pending a determination by the Secretary of Commerce regarding the impact of such exemptions. A substantially similar bill was also introduced in the Senate.
Bill to Prohibit Import of Shark Products from Certain Nations
The Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act of 2019 proposes prohibiting the importation of shark products from nations that do not provide for the conservation of sharks and measures to prohibit shark finning.
Bill Would Support Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Whistleblowers
The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2019 proposes to authorize rewards for whistleblowers who provide information on wildlife trafficking violations, to provide specified funding under the Great Ape Conservation Act and the Marine Turtle Conservation Act, to redirect fines under wildlife statutes to conservation efforts, and to make wildlife trafficking a predicate racketeering violation.
Bill Would Prohibit AWA Licensing of Those with Connections to Revoked Licensees
The WOOF (Welfare of Our Friends) Act of 2019 would amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the issuance of a dog dealer license to an immediate family member of anyone who, any other person who resides at the same address of someone who, or a legal entity if someone who has an ownership interest in that entity has had such a license revoked in the last 10 years.
Bill Would Require AWA Covered Entities to Plan for Disasters
The PREPARED (Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters) Act of 2019 proposes to amend the Animal Welfare Act to require that research facilities, dealers, exhibitors, intermediate handlers, carriers, and Federal research facilities covered by the AWA develop and follow emergency contingency plans that ensure humane treatment of animals in the case of a disaster.
Bill Would Prioritize Non-Animal Research Methods
The HEART (Humane and Existing Alternatives in Research and Testing Sciences) Act of 2019 would require the NIH to establish incentives to use non-animal research methods, use animal methods only as a last resort, require additional review of proposed animal research including the use of pain relievers and other veterinary care.
Bill Would Prohibit Takings of Albatross or Petrel
The Albatross and Petrel Conservation Act would prohibit harmful interference with an albatross or petrel subject, including dead animals and derivative products of such animals.
Bill to Reauthorize the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992
The Wild Bird Conservation Reauthorization Act of 1992 would reauthorize the Act from 2020 through 2025.
Bill to End Wildlife Interaction Shows
The Big Cat Public Safety Act proposes to amend the Lacey Act to prohibit public contact with a member of prohibited wildlife species unless that individual is a professional, veterinarian, or directly supporting conservation efforts.
Bill to Assist Conservation of Right Whales
The SAVE (Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales) Act of 2019 would provide additional financial resources to various state, research, and nonprofit organizations pursuing conservation efforts for right whales.
Bill to Authorize Citizen Suit and Revise Licensing Procedures
The Animal Welfare Enforcement Improvement Act would amend the AWA to add a citizen suit provision. It would also require that dealers and exhibitors reapply to a license from the USDA each year (rather than having their licenses auto-renewed without additional inspection) and require the USDA to deny applications for licenses when animal welfare standards are not met during a second inspection or if the licensee has violated any other laws relating to animals.
Bill to Require Retirement of Animals Used in Research
The AFTER (Animal Freedom from Testing, Experiments, and Research) Act of 2019 proposes to require federal agencies that operate research facilities to promulgate regulations facilitating and encouraging the adoption or placement in a sanctuary of “any animal of the facility [who] is no longer needed for research and determined to be suitable for retirement.”
Bill to Restrict Use of Exotic and Wild Animals in Traveling Performances
The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act of 2019 would amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the use of exotic or wild animals in a traveling performance. The Act would except permanent institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, or the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries; exhibitions as part of an environmental education program accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; research facilities; animals used in television or film; rodeos, wildlife rehabilitators, federally permitted falconers, or wildlife sanctuaries.
Bill to Allow Takings of Black Vultures
The Livestock Protection Act of 2019 would authorize the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue permits to livestock farmers to allow the taking of a black vulture otherwise prohibited.
Bill to Expedite Permitting Under Marine Mammal Protection Act
The Streamlining Environmental Approvals Act proposes to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act to restrict the Secretary’s ability to request further information from applicants, institute automatic approval of permits if the Secretary fails to issue a decision, and allow for auto-extensions of authorizations, among other changes.
Bills to End Horse Soring
The Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2019 would amend the Horse Protection Act to ban horse soring in horse shows and exhibitions and establish an industry organization that will oversee inspections and licensing ensuring such practices.
The PAST (Prevent All Soring Tactics) Act of 2019 would amend the Horse Protection Act to disqualify horses from being shown or exhibited if found to be sore.
Bill to Protect Grizzly Bears
The Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act would prohibit the taking, possession, or transport of a grizzly bear unless permitted for reasons of authorized scientific, exhibition, or religious reasons. The Act would also establish a Grizzly Bear Scientific Committee, require consultation with Native Tribes, and pursue reintroduction of grizzly bears to tribal lands.
Bill to Amend the Animal Welfare Act to Provide Additional Protection to Dogs
The Puppy Protection Act of 2019 would impose additional requirements on facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act regarding the treatment of dogs, including additional space, appropriate temperature control, adequate exercise, daily socialization, and other requirements.
Bill to Expand Veterinary Care of Wildlife
The Wildlife VET (Veterinarians Employment and Training) Act would authorize grants to create more positions for wildlife and zoological veterinarians, a loan repayment assistance program for veterinary students specializing in wildlife and zoological care, a scholarship program for veterinary students, and grants to assist in the development of training programs for wildlife and veterinary students.
Bill to Help Manage Chronic Wasting Disease
The DEER (Detection, Enhanced Education, and Response) Act of 2019 would amend the Animal Health Protection Act to allocate funds to state efforts to manage the chronic wasting disease and award a land grant to establish a policy research center with a focus on chronic wasting disease. The Chronic Wasting Disease Management Act proposes similar actions.
Bill to Include Primates in Lacey Act
The Captive Primate Safety Act would amend the Lacey Act to protect all nonhuman primates and only excepting entities that do not allow contact between members of the public and certain wild animals.
Bill to Remove Grizzly Bear Protections
The Grizzly Bear State Management Act of 2019 would require the Department of the Interior to remove the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem population of grizzly bears from the list of endangered and threatened species protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Bill to Exempt Native Handicrafts from the Marine Mammal Protection Act
The Empower Rural Economies Through Alaska Native Sustainable Arts and Handicrafts Act would amend the Marine Mammal Protect Act to exempt takings by any Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo if the taking is for purposes of subsistence or creating and selling authentic handicrafts and is not accomplished in a “wasteful manner.”
Bill to Prohibit Painful Experimentation on Cats
The KITTEN (Kittens in Traumatic Testing Ends Now) Act of 2019 would amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit experimentation on cats that may cause pain or stress unless that pain or stress is the result of a “physical exam or training program.”
Pending State Actions
California Bill to Prohibit Bobcat Hunting
AB-1254, presented to the Governor on September 19, would make it illegal to hunt bobcats, except in certain circumstances. It would allow the state to open a bobcat hunting season when determined one is “needed” and a bobcat management plan is in place.
California Bill Would Restrict Trophy Trade
AB-1260, presented to the Governor on September 11, would make it a misdemeanor to possess or sell the dead party or part thereof of a number of animals, including polar bears, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, tigers, otters, elephants, and dolphins.
California Bill Would Ban Wild Animal Circus Acts
Senate Bill 313, presented to the Governor on September 19, would prohibit sponsoring, conducting, or operating a circus that uses any animals other than a dog, cat, or horse in the state.
Florida Bill Considers Requiring Adoption of Animals No Longer Used in Research
House Bill 181, currently in committee, would require some animals used in research in Florida to offer animals no longer being used in research for adoption or “retirement.” The bill also provides for civil liability immunity to such facilities.
Florida Bill Would Prohibit Discrimination Against People with Emotional Support Animals
House Bill 209, introduced on September 20, proposes to prohibit discrimination in the rental of housing to a person who requires an emotional support animal, including charging the person additional fees.
Florida Bill Would Ban Pet Leasing
Senate Bill 186, currently in committee, would declare contracts for the temporary leasing of pets (defined to exclude animals used for business or agricultural purposes) as void and against public policy.
Kentucky Bill Would Require Veterinarians Report Suspected Animal Abuse
Bill Request 288, entered on September 25, proposes to require that veterinarians in the state report suspected animal abuse to an animal control officer. The text of the bill request is not yet publicly available.
Michigan Bill Would Restrict Driving While Holding an Animal
House Bill 4931 proposes to prohibit driving while a dog is sitting on an individual’s lap.
Michigan Bill Would Prohibit Labeling Lab Cultivated Meat as “Meat”
House Bill 4947, introduced at the beginning of September, proposes to ban “laboratory-grown meat substitute[s]” as being labeled “meat.”
New York Bill Would Regulate Animal Insurance Policies
Senate Bill 6742, introduced on September 23, would prohibit animal insurance companies from excluding or limiting coverage of pre-existing conditions.
Texas Ballot Measure Would Allow for Adoption of Police Animals
Proposition 10, on the ballot in November, would allow the transfer of police animals, once no longer used by the law enforcement agency, to their handler or other qualified individuals. Right now, the animals are classified as surplus or salvage property and may be auctioned, destroyed, or donated.
Wisconsin Considers Bill Regulating Sexual Conducts with Animals
Senate Bill 139, now being considered by the full Senate, would make it a felony to have sexual contact with an animal or to facilitate such behavior.
Case Law Updates
Federal Case Law Updates
Animal Legal Defense Fund Sends ESA Notice to Special Memories Zoo
ALDF has sent notice, as required by law, of its intent to sue Special Memories Zoo under the Endangered Species Act, as well as state laws, for failing to provide adequate enclosures and care for over 200 animals. The zoo has a history of violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including for lack of drinking water and contaminated food.
PETA Appeals Challenge to License to Transfer Lolita, Miami Orca
PETA, ALDF, and the Orca Network are appealing a district court ruling that they were not able to challenge the USDA’s grant of a permit to transfer Lolita to a new owner to the 11th Circuit.
Second Largest Egg Producer Asks 3rd Circuit to Uphold Jury Verdict in Antitrust Case
Rose Acre Farms, the second-largest egg producer in the United States, was cleared of antitrust charges by a jury in June of 2018, ten years after the case [In re Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation] originated in 2008. Shortly thereafter, shell egg purchasers appealed the judgment to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. The egg producer has now filed a brief with the court arguing that, contrary to what the egg purchasers argue, the lower court applied the correct standard.
17 States Sue Trump Administration over Endangered Species Act
The Trump Administration has finalized new rules that will allow the federal government to cut down the amount of land preserved for wildlife and to disregard the impacts of climate change when considering whether animals should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The states are challenging that action as inconsistent with the statute and a violation of both the Administrative Procedure Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Lawsuit Opposing Trump’s Wildlife Board to Continue
A federal judge ruled this week that a lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s so-called International Wildlife Conservation Council (that critics say is intended to promote trophy hunting and trophy imports) will go forward. The judge did not accept the government’s argument that the groups lacked standing to sue.
State Case Law Updates
Coalition Sues California for Allowing Use of Hunting Dogs with GPS Tracking Devices
Three animal protection organizations (Animal Legal Defense Fund, Public Interest Coalition, and Friends of Animals) are suing the California Fish and Game Commission for altering hunting regulations to allow hunters to employ dogs to chase potential prey to the point of exhaustion before using GPS trackers on the dogs’ collars to find the animal who is no longer able to run away and shoot them. The organizations argue that this decision violates the California Environmental Quality Act.
New Jersey Sues Newark Company Over Smells from Processing Plant
Darling Ingredients, a company that recycles animal byproducts, including carcasses, is being sued by the state of New Jersey for the smells that it produces and subjects nearby residents to.
Fairlife Sued for Misleading Welfare Claims
A California man has filed suit against Fairlife, alleging that the company knowingly misled consumers regarding the treatment of the cows used by Fairlife.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Farming Operation Legal
The court considered whether a small pig farming operation, which was in compliance with federal but not local regulations, was in violation of the law. The court sided with the farmer, saying that the local regulation was preempted.
APHIS Adds Three Locations to List of Regions Affected with African Swine Fever
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has added Hong Kong, Laos, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to its list of regions affected with African Swine Fever, a viral disease that causes high fever, weakness, and difficulty breathing in pigs. There is no treatment or vaccine for the disease. These changes mean that pork and pork products may not be imported to the United States from these regions unless the products were processed and treated in accordance with specific standards or produced at an APHIS-approved facility.
Judge Orders Orangutan in Argentina Released to Sanctuary
An orangutan released by a judge’s ruling in 2015 is on her way to a sanctuary in the United States, where she will spend the rest of her life.
Beyond the Goods/Resources Dichotomy: Animal Labor and Trade Law
Charlotte Blattner, a former Fellow at the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program, has published an article in the Journal of International Wildlife Law & Policy analyzing the argument that the WTO should treat animals, not as goods or natural resources, but as working subjects.
Investigating the Influence of Non-State Actors on Amendments to the CITES Appendices
This article by Daniel Challender and Douglas MacMillan addresses the role of non-governmental organizations in decisions made at CITES, recommending that such actors seek to better understand the CITES decision-making process.
CITES as Global Governance: Paths to Consensus and Defining Nature Through Uncertainty
This article by Tuyen Le explores CITES’ conception of nature and those conceptions’ impact on policy.
Polar Bear Sports Hunting: Canada’s Flawed Interpretation of the International Polar Bear Agreement
This article by Mark Simpson argues against Canada’s interpretation of the International Polar Bear Agreement that has allowed state actors to implement polar bear hunting for sport.
Application of 3R Principles in Small Animal GLP Testing of Biomaterials
This article explores the difference in animal testing when “Good Laboratory Practices” (and the three Rs: replace, reduce, and refine) are employed.