A comprehensive summary of today’s judicial, legislative, and regulatory developments in agriculture and food. Email important additions HERE.

                                                                                                                                               

JUDICIAL: Includes Animal Welfare Act

In Am. Anti-Vivisection Soc’y, No. 19-5015, 2020 WL 11829 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 10, 2020), the court overturned a lower court decision dismissing the plaintiffs’ case on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to assert standing. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit disagreed, concluding that the plaintiffs did have standing to bring their case, and sent the lawsuit back down to the lower court. The plaintiffs, two animal rights groups, brought suit against the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) for failing to issue standards governing the humane handling and care of birds not bred for use in research as required by amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”). Congress amended the AWA eighteen years ago requiring USDA to issue such standards, but so far USDA has failed to issue them. The plaintiffs brought suit under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), arguing that USDA had unlawfully withheld and unreasonably delayed action by failing to issue the standards. Although the lower court dismissed the case because it felt that the plaintiffs failed to allege an injury sufficient to give them standing to sue, the D.C. Circuit disagreed, concluding that USDA’s alleged inaction has injured the plaintiffs’ organizational interests by depriving them of key information that it relies on to fulfill its mission. Specifically, the court concluded that the plaintiffs’ organizational mission to raise awareness about “the plight of captive birds” was injured because by failing to develop the AWA standards, USDA was depriving the plaintiffs of information.

                                                                                                                                               

REGULATORY: Includes AMS, EPA

AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE

Proposed rule establishing a new regulation under the Packers and Stockyards Act that would specify criteria the Secretary of Agriculture would consider when determining whether an undue or reasonable preference or advantage has occurred in violation of the Act. Info here.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

Noticed of proposed rulemaking by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to update its regulations to facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely National Environmental Policy Act reviews by Federal agencies in connection with proposals for agency action. Info here.