Passed State Actions
Colorado Bans Cages for Egg-Laying Hens
Governor Jared Polis signed HB20-1343 into law, making Colorado the sixth state to ban confinement for egg-laying hens, including the sale of eggs produced by hens kept in confinement. The measure goes into effect on January 1, 2023.
Georgia Governor Signs Bill Restricting Labeling of Alternative Proteins
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed into law a bill that makes it unlawful to label any cultured meat product “as meat or any product from an animal” without distinct identification as “lab-grown,” “lab-created,” or “grown in a lab.” The law also requires similar labeling for plant-based products.
Case Law Updates
USDA Settles 2017 Blackout Lawsuits
Two cases stemming from 2017 when the United States Department of Agriculture removed Animal Welfare Act enforcement records from its website—an incident referred to as the USDA Blackout—were settled. The settlement includes the agency’s commitment that it has restored and will continue to provide public access to the records at issue.
Miyoko’s Wins Preliminary Injunction Against Enforcement Letter
Upton’s and PBFA Challenge Oklahoma Labeling Law
Upton’s Naturals and the Plant Based Foods Association filed suit against the state of Oklahoma, bringing a First Amendment challenge to the state’s law that requires disclaimers on plant-based products that use a term normally associated with conventional meat.
EPA to End Suspension of Reporting Requirements
The Environmental Protection Agency announced it will end its controversial policy of suspending reporting requirements for certain entities during the coronavirus outbreak.
National Academies Committee Assesses Veterans Affairs’ Use of Dogs in Biomedical Research
A national advisory panel concluded that most research involving dogs conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs is unnecessary. The committee’s report also makes several recommendations for the VA to promote the development of alternatives to using animals in research and for improving the care and welfare of those that are.
CEQ Issues Final NEPA Overhaul Rule
The Council on Environmental Quality issued a final rule updating its regulations instructing federal agencies on how to implement the National Environmental Protection Act. The rule limits what “effects” must be considered under the Act and sets a two-year time limit to complete environmental impact statements and a one-year time limit to complete environmental assessments. The rule is set to take effect on September 14, 2020.
FWS Opens National Wildlife Refuges to Hunting and Fishing
The Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final rule opening eight National Wildlife Refuges for the first time and re-opening or expanding 89 other National Wildlife Refuges to hunting and sport fishing. The rule is effective immediately.
APHIS Proposes Changes to AWA Information Requirements
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service proposed a rule altering information requirements under the Animal Welfare Act. The rule would remove the requirement that research facilities update their registration information every three years, remove the requirement of continual review of research animal use activities, remove the requirement that facilities request an inactive status, and remove the requirement that the Institutional Official or Chief Executive Officer sign the annual report. The agency is accepting comments on the proposed rule until November 16, 2020.