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—have been settled. The settlement includes the agency’s commitment that it has restored and will continue to provide public access to the records at issue.
USDA Settles 2017 Blackout Lawsuits
Groups Sue Over Conditions of Primates Used in Research
The New-England Anti-Vivisection Society and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, represented by the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Clinic, have filed suit against the United States Department of Agriculture, alleging that the agency’s rejection of their petition and requesting that the agency put into place appropriate psychological well-being standards for nonhuman primates as required by the Animal Welfare Act is unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act."
USDA Ordered to Promulgate AWA Regulations for Birds not Bred for Research
Groups to Appeal Dismissal of NMFS Necropsy Decision
PETA Files Suit Against Tri-State Zoological Park
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has filed suit against Tri-State Zoological Park, alleging that the roadside zoo’s neglect of animals violates federal and state law and constitutes a public nuisance.
APHIS Issues Final AWA Licensing Provisions
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued a final rule detailing changes to the Animal Welfare Act licensing requirements, including automatic termination of a license after three years and requiring that dogs have constant access to potable water. The rule will take effect on November 9, 2020.
Court Dismisses Challenge to NMFS Decision on Disclosure of Necropsy on Standing
A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by several animal rights advocates and individuals that challenged the National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision not to enforce a permit condition requiring SeaWorld to release the necropsy report of an orca whale named Tilikum. The court found that the plaintiffs lacked Article III standing because they “failed to allege a cognizable informational injury.”
New Jersey Legislation Would Require Animal Dealers to Document Source of Animals
New Jersey Senate Bill 2223, if enacted, would prohibit pet dealers who sell at least 15 animals per year from obtaining those animals from breeders who are not licensed and in compliance with animal welfare laws. The bill would also require the dealers to submit an annual report including the name and identifying information of the breeders that the dealer obtained animals from that year.
Alabama Legislation Would Protect Animal Enterprises and Criminalize “Frivolous” Reports of Animal Abuse
Alabama Senate Bill 196, if enacted, would give exclusive jurisdiction over all animal enterprises in the state to the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industry, ban any municipality or jurisdiction within the state from prohibiting (outright or via financial deterrents) animal enterprise, and criminalize the making of any report “clearly lacking any basis in fact or law” of animal cruelty against an animal enterprise. The bill would also discourage any entity holding an impounded animal from sterilizing the animal by making that entity liable for “the value of the animal and three times the projected revenue over the reasonably expected life” of the animal.
Iowa Bill Would Prevent Local Management of Animal Enterprises
Iowa Senate Bill 2388, if enacted, would prohibit any county or city in the state from enacting legislation that regulates any animal enterprise, including zoos, circuses, and any operation that uses animals for purposes such as entertainment or transportation.