Pending Federal Actions
Bill to Prohibit Listing of Sage Grouse
The appropriations bill includes a section that prohibits the listing of the greater and Columbia-basin sage grouse for one year under the Endangered Species Act.
Pending State Actions
Florida Bill Would Allow Courts to Care for Animals in Domestic Violence Cases
House Bill 241 would allow courts to take certain actions regarding the care and possession of animals during domestic violence actions. The text of the full bill has not yet been filed.
Maine Bill Would Define Term “Local Milk”
State Senator Russell Black has pre-introduced a bill that would define the term “local milk” for labeling and advertising purposes. The text of the full bill has not yet been filed.
Maine Bill Would Prohibit Confinement of Egg Laying Hens and the Sale of Their Eggs
The bill was pre-filed on October 4; the text of the full bill has not yet been filed.
Massachusetts Bill Would Prohibit Traveling Acts with Elephants, Big Cats, Primates, and Bears
Senate Bill 2028 proposes to prohibit any person from allowing the use of elephants, primates, bears, or big cats in a traveling animal show, such as zoos or carnivals.
Massachusetts Bill Would Raise Poultry Welfare Standards
A Massachusetts bill proposes to increase welfare requirements for hens and to establish standards for the term “cage-free.” The text of the full bill has not yet been filed.
Ohio Bill Would Heighten Punishment for Violence Against Companion Animals
Senate Bill 205 proposes to increase the penalties for certain acts of serious violence perpetuated against companion animals.
Wisconsin Bill Would Restrict Labeling of Food as a Dairy Product
Wisconsin Bill Would Restrict Labeling of Food as Meat
Senate Bill 464 would prohibit the labeling or sale of a product labeled as “meat” unless that product comes from the flesh of a living animal or insect and does not include cell-cultivated meat products.
Case Law Updates
Federal Case Law Updates
District Court Sides with FWS Over Walrus Protections
An Alaska federal judge decided that the Fish and Wildlife Service provided sufficient explanation for its decision in 2017 to not list the walrus as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.
Meat Packing Executives Plead Guilty to Defrauding Federal Bureau of Prisons
Two executives of Texas-based plant West Texas Provisions have pled guilty to selling over $1 million of adulterated, misbranded, or uninspected meat to federal institutions. The plant processed whole cow hearts and operated when federal inspectors were not present in order to perpetuate the fraud.
CBD & Defenders File Suit Against FWS for Violating ESA
9th Circuit Revives ESA Yuba River Fish Lawsuit
A three-judge panel agreed that the lower court was incorrect to uphold a finding by the National Marine Fisheries Service that two dams were not subject to the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The panel also found error in the lower court’s failure to fully consider the argument that the dams constituted an improper taking under the Act. The case has been remanded for further consideration.
State Case Law Updates
New York Court Grants Temporary Restraining Order Prohibiting Removal of Elephant
The Supreme Court of the State of New York has granted a preliminary restraining order, in place until a further hearing on October 21, which prohibits the Bronx Zoo from moving Happy the elephant out of the State of New York. The order was requested by the Nonhuman Rights Project in conjunction with their suit intending to free Happy.
D.C. Court Casts Doubt on Standing Theories Under Consumer Protection Law
The D.C. Superior Court issued an Order that suggests that the non-profit and public interest organization standing provisions of the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Laws should be more limited.
FDA Requests Feedback on Guidance for Drug Use in Animals
USDA Extends Comment Period for Organic Dairy Requirements
The United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service is reopening the comment period for a rule originally proposed in 2015 regarding the origin of livestock requirements for dairy animals under the USDA Organic regulations. The proposed rule would clarify how dairy farmers may transition animals into organic production and clarify that dairy labeled organic must come from animals “managed” in compliance with organic requirements since at least the last third of gestation. USDA is accepting comments until December 2, 2019.
USDA Finalizes High-Speed Pig Slaughter Rule
The finalized rule allows for reduced inspection of pig slaughter lines and revoking maximum slaughter line speeds.
EPA Seeks Input on Evaluating Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations
The Environmental Protection Agency is requesting data related to developing testing emission methodologies for animal feeding operations. The information must be received by December 2, 2019.
FWS Requests Additional Information Regarding ESA Listing of Greater Sage-Grouse
The Fish & Wildlife Service has extended by six months its final determination of whether to list the Bi-State distinct population segment of greater sage-grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It is seeking information related to the population’s habitat requirements, genetics, current range and distribution patterns, and current population levels. New comments must be submitted by October 31, 2019.
Aquarium Applies to Import Five Beluga Whales
The Fish & Wildlife Service is considering an application by Mystic Aquarium to import five beluga whales from Canada to conduct research lasting five years, the maximum under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Comments on this application are due December 22, 2019.
USDA Seeks Comments on State Supervision of FMIA & PPIA Program
The Food Safety and Inspection Service is requesting comments on its implementation of a program under which small facilities that ship in interstate commerce can be overseen to be in compliance with the Federal Meat Inspection Act and Poultry Products Inspection Act by the state rather than by federal regulators. Specifically, the agency is requesting input on whether the collection of information from regulated states and facilities by the agency is necessary, the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the time required for the information collection, and how to best gather information. The comment period closes on December 2, 2019.
FWS Lists Woodland Caribou of Southern Mountain Caribou Population Under ESA
The Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized its listing of the woodland caribou for the southern mountain caribou distinct population segment.
FWS Removes Gecko from ESA Protected List
The Fish & Wildlife Service has finalized its proposal to remove the Monito Gecko from the federal list of species protected under the Endangered Species Act.
FWS Considers Issuing ESA Export Permit to Zoo
The Fish & Wildlife Service is seeking comments on requested Endangered Species Act permits, including one request to export lemurs to a zoo in Bermuda for the “purpose of enhancing the propagation” of the species.
Jonathan Safran Foer Tells People to Change the Planet from their Breakfast Plates
Safran Foer’s newest book We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast details the impact of animal agriculture on climate change and urges those who care to make substantive changes. Early reviews of the book are highly positive.