Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has signed into law House Bill 1420 which allows the state board of animal health to cooperate and coordinate with animal owners and law enforcement to prepare for, respond to, and recover from hazard emergencies. The law also allows the board to delegate the duty to adopt emergency rules to the state veterinarian and adds conditions for disposing of deceased animals by either burial or composting.
Indiana Amends Agricultural Emergency Procedures
Arkansas Legislation Would Preempt Limitations on Animal Enterprise
Arkansas House Bill 1883 would prohibit a municipality from enacting any ordinance or resolution that “terminates, bans, effectively bans, or creates an undue hardship relating to the job or use of a working animal or animal enterprise in commerce, service, legal hunting, agriculture, husbandry, transportation, ranching, entertainment, education, or exhibition.”
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.
North Carolina Considers Sales Tax Exemption for Farmers to Include Zoo Operations
North Carolina Senate Bill 388 would expand the sales tax exemption for farmers to include purchase of an item “used by a farmer for zoo operations if it is 24 used to construct or maintain a collection of living animals or crops for public display.”
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.
Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Challenging OSHA’s Enforcement of Pandemic Protocols
A federal judge has granted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by workers in the meatpacking industry seeking a writ of mandamus to compel the agency to obtain a court order directing a meatpacking plant “to abate imminent dangers to its employees related to the transmission of COVID-19.” The court determined that the relevant section of the Occupational Safety and Health Act “affords employees relief only in those instances where the Secretary has been presented with a finding of imminent danger by an OSHA inspector and has arbitrarily and capriciously rejected the recommendation to take legal action.”
New York Considers Ban on Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption
New York Senate Bill 5875 would prohibit the slaughter, possession, export, sale, and transfer of ownership of a horse “where such person knows or should know that any part of such horse will be used for human consumption.”
Court Denies Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging USDA’s Avian Flu Control Plan
A federal judge has denied the United States Department of Agriculture’s Motion to dismiss a case brought by the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, and Mercy for Animals alleging that the agency’s adoption of a response plan to avian flu is a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, the National Environmental Procedure Act, and the Council on Environmental Quality regulations.
Congress Considers Suspending Slaughter Line Speed and Inspection Staffing Waivers
Senate Bill 713, the “Safe Line Speeds During COVID-19 Act of 2021,” would direct the Secretary of Agriculture to temporarily suspend current and future waivers that allow for increased line speeds or reduced inspection staffing at meat and poultry slaughterhouses. The bill would also formally suspend implementation of the “New Swine Slaughter Inspection System” detailed in the final rule published in the Federal Register on October 1, 2019 and mandate a review of actions taken by federal agencies in response to the COVID–19 pandemic “to determine the effectiveness of those actions in protecting animal, food, and worker safety.” The full text of the bill is available here.
Meat and Dairy Companies’ Climate Responsibilities
A new study by Oliver Lazarus, Sonali McDermid, and Jennifer Jacquet published in Climatic Change, “The Climate Responsibilities of Industrial Meat and Dairy Producers,” evaluates the largest meat and dairy companies’ commitments to positive change and transparency regarding climate.