Federal Judge Rules USDA Acted Unlawfully in Denying Petition to Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Primates Used in Experiments

The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) acted unlawfully by denying a petition for rulemaking (PFR) submitted by Rise for Animals and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to improve the standards for the psychological well-being of primates used in research. Judge Julie Rubin found that the USDA had relied upon “facts known by it to be false” and further that the agency failed to respond to any of the more than 10,000 public comments it received, most of which urged the agency to grant the PFR. The judge’s ruling further declared that the USDA’s “secret policy” of not fully inspecting every facility each year is also unlawful. Rise for Animals and ALDF are represented by Harvard Law School’s Animal Law & Policy Clinic, which also is suing the USDA over the inspection policy.