Case Law Updates
Federal Case Law Updates
Class Action Filed Over Deceptive “Prime Pork” Labeling
A class of consumers has brought a lawsuit against Tyson Meats and subsidiary Fresh Market, alleging the companies attempted to increase sales by using the term “prime,” known for its use in grading beef products. The case alleges consumers would not have paid premium prices for the pork products if they had known that there is actually no such thing as “prime pork.”
Beef Company Held in Contempt for Not Bargaining in Good Faith
A federal judge has held Noah’s Ark Processors, LLC (which does business as WR Reserve) in contempt for violating a May order requiring the business to bargain with United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local No. 293. The company has been using what the court called “petty gamesmanship” in the bargaining process, such as offering to bargain on days it knew union officials had other obligations.
Tribal Groups Sue Over Proposed Tribal Fishery
Three tribal groups have filed suit in Washington against another tribe, requesting that the court prevent that tribe from opening a fishery in an area where it has not been allowed to fish for almost fifty years.
Dog Food Company Settles Class Action Lawsuit
Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Co. Inc. settled a class action filed against it by customers that claimed its products advertised as “human grade” were dangerous to companion animals. The settlement amounts to $545,000 that will go toward veterinarian bills of those whose cats or dogs were poisoned and partial reimbursement of the purchased products for other purchasers.
ALDF Sues FWS and NMFS Over Endangered Species Act Regulations
The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a lawsuit claiming that the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service’s alteration of Endangered Species Act regulations violates the Endangered Species Act itself, the Administrative Procedure Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. The three challenged rules, finalized in August, allow consideration of economic factors in the listing of species and remove the automatic protection of threatened species under the Act, among other changes.
Cattle Industry Sues over WOTUS Rollback
The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association has filed a suit against the Trump administration claiming that the administration’s replacement of an Obama-era Clean Water Act rule is unconstitutional. The group is arguing that while the Obama-era rule should have been backtracked, the agency’s replacement rule is a 1986 guidance that it also believes is unconstitutional.
Center for Biological Diversity Sues USDA Over Washington Animal Killings
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a suit against the United States Department of Agriculture that claims the agency’s wildlife killing practices violates the National Environmental Policy Act, implementing regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Environmental Groups Sue Over Waters of the United States Rule
The Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, and other local groups have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency claiming that the administration’s rollback of a Clean Water Act rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act in multiple ways.
State Case Law Updates
Connecticut Appellate Court Grants NhRP Permission to File Supplemental Brief
USDA Finalizes Update to Departmental FOIA Regulations
The United States Department of Agriculture has finalized a rule revising the department’s regulations regarding Freedom of Information Act requests. The new rule addresses the procedures both for submitting a request to the agency and that the agency follows when responding to the request. Among other changes, the rule announces that the agency will keep language that guides components of the agency when records need to be disclosed in reading rooms, but will not expand the guidance. The rule also codifies the Supreme Court’s ruling in Argus Leader, defining what is meant by “confidential” information in the context of Exemption 4 of the Act. The change is effective as of the date of publication, October 21, 2019.
FWS Adds Tennessee Fish to List of Endangered Species
The Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a rule that adds the Barrens topminnow, a freshwater fish found in only three counties in Tennessee, to the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. The rule is effective as of November 20, 2019.
Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman Alliance Seeks Permission to Use Smaller Net Size
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is accepting comments on the Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman Alliance’s application for permission to trawl using smaller codends (the tapered ends of trawling nets) than the standard minimum of 6.5 inches. The Alliance contends that the decrease in codend size would improve catch of haddock, but be unlikely to retain any undersized fish. The comment period is open until November 15, 2019.
FSIS Announces Recall of Pork and Turkey Products Due to Risk of Salmonella
The Food Safety Inspection Service announced that a Tennessee establishment called George’s Prepared Foods is recalling over six thousand pounds of pork and turkey products that may be contaminated with salmonella.
FSIS Releases Annual Poultry Salmonella Contamination Statistics for Large Producers
The Food Safety Inspection Service has released a data set of salmonella contaminations at different large (slaughtering at least 20,000 animals a year and producing at least 1,000 pounds of product per day) poultry establishments. The data is separated by both establishment and poultry product.
EPA Finalizes Clean water Act WOTUS Rule
The Environmental Protection Agency released its final Waters of the United States rule under the Clean Water Act, cementing its rollback of the Obama-era regulation that ensured additional protections for streams, wetlands, rivers, and lakes.
EPA Proposes Reissuance of NPDES Permit to Idaho CAFOs
The Environmental Protection Agency is considering reissuing a permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the state of Idaho. This permit allows the animal agriculture operations to discharge pollutants produced at the facility into the waters of the United States. The comment period is open until December 9, 2019.
FWS Proposes ESA Delisting of Interior Least Tern
The Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it is considering removing the inland population of the least tern, a bird that nests along southern riverbanks, from the federal list of species protected under the Endangered Species Act. The agency is accepting comments on the proposed action until December 23, 2019.
NOAA Announces Evaluation of Orca Habitat Protections
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced it will begin the process of evaluating whether existing National Marine Fisheries Service regulations protect killer whales from the impacts of vessels in the inland waters of Washington State. The agency will accept comments on the matter until December 23, 2019 and is hosting a public meeting on the matter on November 12, 2019 in Washington.
Beef Trade Group Requests that FSIS Restrict USA Origin Labeling to Slaughtered Meat
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association has submitted a petition to the Food Safety Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, requesting that the agency limit the use of terms that suggest a United States origin of product to products that are made “from cattle that have been born, raised, and harvested in the United States.” The agency acknowledged receipt of the petition and has yet to reply.
Last Chance for Comments on Sea Lion Killing
The comment period is about to expire for a June application from a group of Northwest organizations seeking a permit under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to remove (by lethal force) sea lions in the Columbia River. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is accepting comments on this application until October 29, 2019.
Article Finds Animal Source Foods are “Necessary” & Negative Impacts are “Overstated”
A new article published in Global Food Security purports that the over two billion people suffering from micronutrient deficiencies are due in part to insufficient consumption of animal sourced foods. The article argues that reports focusing on the health and climate threats of animal agriculture are overestimated and that producing animal source foods is necessary for the role they play in “improving nutrition, reducing poverty, improving gender equity, improving livelihoods, increasing food security, and improving health.”
Poultry Industry Explores Desirability of Duck Meat Products
Article Examines New German Animal Study Registry Aims of Transparency and Reproducibility
A new article published in PLOS Biology outlines how a new online resource, the Animal Study Registry, aims to increase animal welfare by increasing transparency and reproducibility. The registry is meant to assist scientists thoroughly plan their studies and reproduce others’ work after an embargo period intended to protect intellectual property.
Tyson Bans Ractopamine
The change will take effect on February 4, 2020. The shift is largely due to China’s ban on the fattening drug.
Concern Over Cultivated Meat’s Impact on Climate Change
An article outlines current arguments against cultivated meat, including that it will make carbon that lasts longer in the atmosphere than the methane produced by live animals. It also includes the argument from Future Meat’s founder Yaakov Nahmias that the research on which that argument is based is “mischaracterized.”
Impact of Restrictions on Labeling Products as “Meat” on Consumer Behavior
An article by several agricultural economists claims that restricting the use of the word “meat” on plant-based or cultivated products is unlikely to make anyone purchase more traditional meat products, though it may reduce the number of people who buy the alternatives.