Passed State Actions
Iowa Prohibits “Interference” With the Transportation of an Animal Used in Agriculture
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law House Bill 655 which will make it a crime to stop, hinder, impede, board, obstruct, or “otherwise interfere” with a motor vehicle transporting an “agricultural animal” or to provoke, disturb, or “otherwise interact” with an “agricultural animal . . . confined in a motor vehicle.” “Agricultural animal” is defined as “an animal belonging to the bovine, caprine, equine, ovine, or porcine species; farm deer . . . ostriches, reas, and emus; turkeys, chickens, domestic geese or ducks, or other domestic fowl; fish or other aquatic organisms confined in private waters for human consumption; or honey bees.” A first offense would constitute an aggravated misdemeanor, and each subsequent conviction would constitute a class D felony.
Texas to Expand Immunity for Animal Agricultural Operations
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 365 which will include contractors and employees under existing immunity granted to persons in charge of an animal agriculture operation or “farm animal activity” from liability for property damage, personal injury, or death. Covered activities also will expand to include the practices of “feeding, vaccinating, exercising, weaning, transporting, producing, herding, corralling, branding, or dehorning of” animals and engagement in “routine or customary activities on a farm.” The bill also adds “honeybee[s] kept in a managed colony” to the definition of “farm animal.”
Nevada Bans Extreme Confinement of Egg-Laying Hens and Sale or Transport of Non-Complying Eggs
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law Assembly Bill 399 which will prohibit the knowing confinement of a hen used to produce eggs in an enclosure which has less than one square foot of usable floor space per egg-laying hen on or after July 1, 2022. The law will also prohibit knowingly confining a hen in a cage-free housing system that has “less than one square foot of usable floor space per egg-playing hen if the cage-free housing system provides egg-laying hens with unrestricted access to elevated flat platforms, including, without limitation, unrestricted access in a multi-tiered aviary or partially slatted system” or one that has less than “one and one-half square feet of usable floor space per egg-laying hen if the cage-free housing system does not provide unrestricted access to elevated flat platforms, including, without limitation, unrestricted access in a single-level, all-litter floor system” on or after January 1, 2024. The law additionally will prohibit “farm owners or operators” from selling or transporting eggs or egg products without having been issued a certificate by the state Department of Agriculture that those products were produced by an egg-laying hen who was confined in a manner that complies with the law’s requirements.
Maine Bans Sale of Cosmetics Tested on Animals
Maine Governor Janet Mills signed into law House Bill 1156 which will prohibit a manufacturer from selling or offering for sale in the state a cosmetic that was developed or manufactured using cosmetic animal testing conducted or contracted for on or after November 1, 2021.
Texas Criminalizes Entering Animal Facilities
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 1480 which will make it a misdemeanor if a person “intentionally releases, steals, destroys, or otherwise causes the loss of an animal or crop from an animal or crop facility without the consent of the owner;” “damages, vandalizes, or steals any property on or from an animal or crop facility;” “breaks and enters into an animal or crop facility with the intent to destroy or alter records, data, materials, equipment, animals, or crops;” “knowingly obtains control by theft or deception or asserts unauthorized control over any materials, equipment, animals, or crops of an animal or crop facility for the purpose of depriving the owner or operator of the facility or the facility of materials, equipment, animals, or crops;” or “enters or remains on an animal or crop facility with the intent to commit” any of the above listed acts.
Passed Municipal Actions
Chicago Closes Puppy Mill Loophole to Ban on Sale of Cats and Dogs
The Chicago City Council closed a loophole in the city’s puppy mill ordinance that allowed phony rescue organizations to “launder” animals bred in puppy mills in to pet stores as “rescue” animals. The ordinance now requires that a “pet shop shall not have any ownership or monetary interest in the animals displayed for adoption. The animals may only be transferred to an adopting individual for a nominal adoption fee.” The ordinance also exempts small scale “backyard breeders” who sell directly to the public and possess 5 or fewer female dogs or cats capable of reproduction.
Case Law Updates
Federal Case Law Updates
New Swine Inspection System Violates Administrative Procedure Act
In a case brought by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, a Minnesota federal judge has held that the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s adoption of the New Swine Inspection System (eliminating line speed limits) violated the Administrative Procedure Act because the agency rejected extensive public comment and eliminated line speed limits without considering the impact on worker safety.
Ninth Circuit Overturns State Notice ESA Rule
The Ninth Circuit has ruled that the Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act by implementing a rule that “unreasonably” required parties to provide affected states with a 30-day notice of intent to file a petition to list an endangered species. The panel reversed the district court’s summary judgment entered in favor of FWS and remanded to enter judgment in favor of plaintiffs, Friends of Animals.
Groups Petition EPA to Regulate Methane Emissions from Pig and Dairy Operations Under Clean Air Act
Twenty-five groups have filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency asking the agency to regulate pig and dairy operations under the Clean Air Act. The petition also requests the agency make an official finding that methane emissions from animal agriculture “contribute significantly to” air pollution.