Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to uphold HHS's redaction of certain types of information in response to PETA's request for information about the importation of nonhuman primates under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The court noted that it would have little difficulty concluding that the market for importing nonhuman primates was competitive even without PETA's waiver. The court held that releasing shipment-by-shipment quantity, crate size, and airline carrier information would cause substantial harm to the competitive position of each importer. Therefore, such information was confidential and protected from disclosure by FOIA Exemption 4. Finally, the court held that the district court did not err by granting HHS's Rule 60(b)(6) motion for reconsideration of the judgment regarding three importers, which the district court had mistakenly assumed their silence was intentional. View "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. HHS" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the Service's 2014 and 2015 findings that information concerning the size of the Zimbabwean elephant population and status of conservation efforts in Zimbabwe did not support a conclusion that killing the animal would enhance the survival of the species. The court rejected appellants' contention that the Service erred because it applied a standard that was more stringent than the "enhance" standard in the Service's regulation. However, the court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Service on a claim under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 553, because the Service erred in adopting the findings without first following the notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements of the APA. The court remanded with instructions. View "Safari Club International v. Zinke" on Justia Law

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The Animal Welfare Act's (AWA), 7 U.S.C. 2133, compliance demonstration requirement does not unambiguously preclude USDA's license renewal scheme and the scheme is not facially unreasonable. In this case, plaintiffs filed suit challenging the USDA's most recent renewal of a license for animal exhibitors (Cricket Hollow Zoo), alleging that, at the time of the renewal, the agency was aware that Cricket Hollow was in violation of numerous animal welfare requirements under the Act and its implementing regulations. The DC Circuit held that the agency's renewal scheme was consistent with the demonstration requirement in section 2133. Because the agency's decision to renew the Cricket Hollow Zoo license was made in compliance with that regulatory scheme, it was not inconsistent with the Act. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's judgment on the statutory claim; vacated the district court's order granting the Government's motion to dismiss plaintiffs' arbitrary and capricious claim; and remanded to the district court with instructions to remand the record to the agency for further proceedings. View "Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Perdue" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, individuals who breed and sell animals, filed the underlying action in district court, challenging a 2012 rule in which the Fish and Wildlife Service designated as injurious four species of snakes. At issue on appeal was the shipment clause in the Lacey Act, 18 U.S.C. 42(a)(1), which bars "any shipment" of certain injurious species of animals "between the continental United States, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any possession of the United States." Plaintiffs argued that the Service lacks authority under the Lacey Act to prohibit transportation of the listed species between the 49 continental States. The court agreed with the district court that the shipment clause has no bearing on shipments of animals from one of the 49 continental States to another. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of plaintiffs. View "U.S. Assoc. of Reptile Keepers v. Zinke" on Justia Law

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After issuing an environmental impact statement (EIS), the National Park Service adopted a plan for the management of deer in Rock Creek National Park in Washington, D.C. The plan involved the killing of white-tailed deer. Objectors argued that the plan violated statutes governing management of the Park and was not adopted in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act, and that the EIS did not meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The district court rejected the claims on summary judgment. The D.C. Circuit affirmed. Noting that the Organic Act expressly provides that the Secretary of the Interior “may also provide in his discretion for the destruction of such animals and of such plant life as may be detrimental to the use of any said parks, monuments, or reservations,” so that the agency’s interpretation of its enabling act is reasonable. Given the impact of deer on plant life and vehicle collisions, the decision is not arbitrary. Finding no violation of NEPA, the court concluded that the EIS was not required to consider the psychological harm that some visitors may suffer from simply knowing that the intentional killing of deer happens at Rock Creek Park. View "Grunewald v. Jarvis" on Justia Law

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After a three-year rulemaking process, the FWS found that, due to the effects of global climate change, the polar bear was likely to become an endangered species and faced the threat of extinction within the foreseeable future (Listing Rule). The agency thus concluded that the polar bear should be listed as a threatened species. A number of industry groups, environmental organizations, and states challenged the Listing Rule as either overly restrictive or insufficiently protective of the polar bear. After a hearing on the parties' submissions, the district court granted summary judgment to the FWS and rejected all challenges to the Listing Rule. Given the evident thoroughness and care of the agency's explanation for its decision, the court concluded that the challenges to the Listing Rule "amount to nothing more than competing views about policy and science." Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "In re: Polar Bear Endangered Species Act Listing and Section 4(d) Rule Litigation" on Justia Law

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Feld Entertainment, Inc. owned the country's largest collection of endangered Asian elephants, some of whom travel and perform with its famed Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. In this case, a former barn helper with the circus and an organization dedicated to fighting exploitation of animals alleged that Feld's use of two techniques for controlling the elephants -bullhooks and chains - harmed the animals in violation of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1). The court agreed with the district court that plaintiffs failed to establish Article III standing and therefore affirmed the district court's judgment. View "ASPCA, et al. v. Feld Entertainment, Inc." on Justia Law