Case Law Updates
Kansas Ag-Gag Law Found Unconstitutional
The United States District Court for the District of Kansas ruled that the state’s ag-gag law violated the First Amendment by banning undercover investigations at factory farms and slaughterhouses. The law was the oldest of its kind in the country, dating to 1990. This is the fifth state ag-gag law to be struck down in the past five years: Idaho, Utah, Iowa (twice), and now Kansas.
Lawsuit Filed Over Slaughter of Sick and Injured Pigs
The Lewis & Clark Animal Law Litigation Clinic, representing Farm Sanctuary, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Outlook, Animal Welfare Institute, Compassion in World Farming, Farm Forward, and Mercy for Animals, filed suit against the Department of Agriculture for failing to follow a Congressional mandate to investigate and report on issues related to nonambulatory (downer) livestock, including humane handling.
Miyoko’s Sues California Department of Food and Agriculture Over First Amendment Violation
Plant-based dairy company Miyoko’s Kitchen Inc. has filed suit against the California Department of Food and Agriculture, alleging violations of the company’s First Amendment rights when the agency told the company to stop calling its products “butter” and claiming the products are “cruelty and animal free.”
Groups Sue USDA Over Chicken Slaughter Speed
The Humane Society of the United States, Animal Outlook, Mercy for Animals, Government Accountability Project, and Marin Humane have filed suit against the United States Department of Agriculture, alleging that the agency’s decision to increase allowable slaughter speeds in some chicken slaughterhouses to 175 animals per minute violates the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Supreme Court Will Review Endangered Species Act FOIA Case
The Supreme Court announced it will review a petition from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service seeking to reverse a court order that a draft biological opinion prepared pursuant to the Section 7 consultation process of the Endangered Species Act is protected under Exemption 5 of the Freedom of Information Act, under the deliberative process privilege.
Groups Appeal Dismissal of Arkansas’ Ag-Gag Law
Groups challenging Arkansas’ ag-gag law as unconstitutional have appealed the dismissal of their suit to the Eighth Circuit. The dismissal in February was based on the court’s finding that plaintiffs failed to adequately allege Article III standing.
PETA Prevails in Effort to Relocate Tigers from Dade City’s Wild Things to Sanctuary
A federal judge in Florida ordered Dade City’s Wild Things, a roadside zoo, to allow PETA to relocate all tigers in the zoo’s possession to qualified animal sanctuaries. The order, finding that the zoo and zoo’s owners violated the Endangered Species Act, also banned defendants from owning or possessing tigers.
Wildlife in Need’s AWA License Revoked
The United States Department of Agriculture revoked notorious roadside zoo Wildlife in Need’s Animal Welfare Act license, after finding the company’s owner, Tim Stark, willfully violated the law “well over 120” times, including for failing to provide adequate veterinary care and failing to provide adequate food and water. The agency has also fined the facility $300,000 and the zoo’s owner, Tim Stark, $40,000.
EPA Suspends Enforcement of Environmental Laws in Response to Coronavirus
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a temporary policy without any set end date that suspends the agency’s enforcement of environmental law during the coronavirus outbreak.
British Tribunal Rules Veganism is a Philosophical Belief Protected by Law
A landmark legal ruling in a case brought by an ethical vegan regarding his dismissal from the League Against Cruel Sports in London ruled that ethical veganism is a “philosophical belief” that is protected by the Equality Act of 2010. The plaintiff, Jordi Casamitjana, claims that he was fired from the animal welfare charity after disclosing that the organization was investing in firms involved in animal testing.
France Will Ban Live Shredding of Chicks in Egg Industry
French agriculture minister Didier Guillaume announced that France will ban the now-controversial practice of shredding male chicks alive by 2021.
New Handbook of Animal Ethics Released
The first edition of the Routledge Handbook of Animal Ethics has been published and addresses a wide range of topics including animal intelligence and emotions, agriculture and hunting, research and engineering, companion animals, wildlife management, and activism.