Below you will find links to relevant case law pertaining to the Animal Welfare Act. Cases have been indexed chronologically. Cases are also sorted by subject here.

2003 2001 2000 1998 1997 1996
1994 1993 1992 1991 1990 1986


2003

Doris Day Animal League v. Veneman

315 F.3d 297
Decided Jan. 14, 2003

Animal rights group challenged validity of USDA’s regulations exempting breeders who sell dogs from their residences from licensure under Animal Welfare Act. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that the regulation was invalid, and USDA appealed. The Court of Appeals, Randolph, Circuit Judge, held that regulation was reasonable interpretation of Congressional intent.
Reversed
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2001

Alternative Research and Development Foundation v. Veneman

262 F.3d 406
Decided Sept. 7, 2001

ALDF and others brought suit alleging USDA violated the mandate of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by promulgating regulations that excluded birds, mice and rats from the definition of “animal” under the Act. NABR filed a motion to intervene in the case. After plaintiffs and the USDA entered into as stipulation of dismissal without prejudice, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia filed the stipulation of dismissal and denied NABR’s motions to intervene and to vacate the stipulation. NABR appealed.

The Court of Appeals held that: (1) denial of intervention as of right is an appealable, final order regardless of the merits of the claim for intervention as of right; (2) NABR was not entitled to intervene as of right to challenge stipulated dismissal, as it lacked the requisite interest requiring intervention; and (3) NABR lacked standing to appeal from either a stipulation of dismissal or order denying its motion for relief from judgment which challenged the stipulated dismissal. Appeal dismissed.

The decision in this case meant USDA would move forward with a proposed rule to cover rats, mice and birds under the Animal Welfare Act.
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2000

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Glickman

204 F.3d 229
Decided Feb. 1, 2000

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and individual plaintiffs challenged USDA regulations promulgated under Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to promote psychological well-being of nonhuman primates kept by exhibitors and researchers. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Charles R. Richey, J., 943 F.Supp. 44, ruled that regulations did not set standards and constituted impermissible delegation of UDSA’s legal responsibility. USDA appealed. A panel of the Court of Appeals, 130 F.3d 464, vacated on ground that none of plaintiffs had standing to challenge the regulations. After vacating the panel’s judgment and granting a rehearing in banc, 136 F.3d 829, the Court of Appeals, sitting in banc, 154 F.3d 426, found that one individual plaintiff had standing to challenge regulations, and referred the merits of appeal to the panel.

The Court of Appeals, Williams, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) regulations were valid, and (2) ALDF did not have standing to raise procedural injury. Reversed and vacated in part.
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1998

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Glickman

154 F.3d 426
Decided Sept. 1, 1998

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and individual plaintiffs brought action challenging USDA’s regulations concerning treatment of nonhuman primates on grounds that they violated USDA’s statutory mandate under Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Charles R. Richey, J., 943 F.Supp. 44, ruled that regulation was invalid. USDA appealed. The Court of Appeals, 130 F.3d 464, vacated and remanded with instructions. On rehearing en banc, the Court of Appeals, Wald, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) individual plaintiff satisfied injury in fact requirement for constitutional standing; (2) individual plaintiff satisfied causation requirement for standing; (3) individual plaintiff satisfied redressibility requirement for standing; and (4) individual plaintiff fell within zone of interests protected by AWA, satisfying prudential standing requirements. Ordered accordingly.

Sentelle, Circuit Judge, dissented and filed a separate opinion in which Silberman, Ginsburg, and Karen LeCraft Henderson, Circuit Judges, joined.
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1997

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Glickman

130 F.3d 464
Decided Dec. 9, 1997

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and four individuals sued USDA under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), alleging USDA regulations concerning treatment of primates failed to comply with requirements of governing statute, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Charles R. Richey, J., 943 F.Supp. 44, held that regulation was invalid. USDA appealed. The Court of Appeals, Sentelle, Circuit Judge, held that plaintiffs lacked constitutional standing. Vacated and remanded with instructions.

Wald, Circuit Judge, issued dissenting opinion.
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1996

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Glickman

943 F.Supp. 44
Oct. 30, 1996

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and individual visitors to primate exhibitor facilities brought action against USDA challenging regulations promulgated under Animal Welfare Act (AWA). On motions to strike, to dismiss and for summary judgment, the District Court, Charles R. Richey, J., held that: (1) plaintiffs had constitutional and statutory standing to maintain challenges to regulations; (2) extra-record materials allegedly demonstrating inhumane conditions at particular facilities but not considered by Department at time of promulgation of regulations were not admissible; (3) regulation requiring exhibitors to develop and follow plan for primate environment enhancement in accordance with currently accepted professional standards violated plain language of AWA’s mandate that agency promulgate standards to govern humane treatment of animals by exhibitors; (4) period of 11 years after effective date of AWA during which Department and related parties had yet to issue regulatory standards adequate to promote psychological well-being of primates constituted agency action unlawfully withheld and unreasonably delayed; (5) regulation providing that decision whether to provide social grouping of primates would be left to exhibitors’ interpretation of currently accepted professional standards was arbitrary and capricious; (6) proposed regulation did not afford sufficient notice of final regulation providing that exhibitors keep both primate environment plans and exemptions on-site; and (7) AWA provision delegating discretion to Secretary of Agriculture to make investigations or inspections as deemed necessary precluded judicial review of Secretary’s decision whether to take any enforcement action under AWA.

Motions granted in part and denied in part, and case remanded to agency.
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Hoctor v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

82 F.3d 165
Decided April 25, 1996

Owner of exotic animal compound sought judicial review of USDA’s administrative determination that perimeter fence around compound violated its regulations for containment of dangerous animals. The Court of Appeals, Posner, Chief Judge, held that Department of Agriculture rule governing minimum height of enclosures for dangerous animals was substantive rule subject to notice and comment procedure set forth in Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Order vacated.
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1994

Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Espy

29 F.3d 720
Decided July 22, 1994

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), other welfare groups and several individuals brought action alleging that USDA regulations violated the Animal Welfare Act. NABR intervened. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Charles R. Richey, J., 813 F.Supp. 882, set aside regulations, and USDA and NABR appealed. The Court of Appeals, Karen LeCraft Henderson, Circuit Judge, held that all plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge regulations.
Vacated and remanded with directions to dismiss.
Mikva, Chief Judge, filed concurring opinion.
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Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Espy

23 F.3d 496
Decided May 20, 1994

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the Human Society of the United States (HSUS), and two individuals brought suit challenging USDA’s regulations for failing to include birds, rats, and mice as “animals” within meaning of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Charles R. Richey, J., denied USDA’s motion to dismiss, 760 F.Supp. 923, and subsequently granted plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, 781 F.Supp. 797. USDA appealed. The Court of Appeals, Sentelle, Circuit Judge, held that plaintiffs could not demonstrate both constitutional standing to sue and statutory right to judicial review under Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
Vacated and remanded with directions.

Stephen F. Williams, Circuit Judge, issued opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.
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1993

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Secretary of Agriculture

813 F.Supp. 882
Feb. 25, 1993

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and several individuals brought suit against USDA alleging its regulations governing exercise requirements for dogs and requirements to promote the psychological well-being of nonhuman primates violated the Animal Welfare Act. The District Court, Charles R. Richey, J., held that: (1) USDA regulations regarding dog exercise, psychological well-being of nonhuman primates and cages were arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law, and (2) regulations permitting regulated entities to keep their plans under the Act “on-site” and permitting the USDA, but not the public, access to them there, did not violate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
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1992

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Madigan

781 F.Supp. 797
Jan. 8, 1992

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and two individuals brought suit challenging USDA’s regulation excluding birds, rats, and mice from the definition of “animal” under the Animal Welfare Act. District Court, Charles R. Richey, J., held that: (1) Department’s promulgation of regulations that failed to include birds, rats and mice as “animals” protected by the Act was arbitrary and capricious, and (2) Department’s refusal to institute rule making proceedings was arbitrary and capricious.
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1991

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Yeutter

760 F.Supp. 923
April 1, 1991

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and two individuals brought suit against the USDA alleging it violated the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by promulgating regulations which failed to include birds, rats, and mice as “animals” within meaning of the Act. On USDA’s motion to dismiss for lack of standing and for failure to state a claim, the District Court, Charles R. Richey, J., held that: (1) plaintiffs were persons aggrieved by agency action within meaning of relevant statute, and had standing to seek judicial review, and (2) Secretary was not necessarily acting within discretionary authority delegated by Congress when he determined that birds, mice and rats are not covered by the Act, and thus plaintiffs stated a claim.
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1990

Kerr v. Kimmell

740 F.Supp. 1525
June 13, 1990

Owner-operator of dog kennels brought action alleging that Kansas Animal Dealers Act violated Constitution. The District Court, Saffels, J., held that: (1) Kansas Animal Dealers Act did not violate commerce clause; (2) Act was exercise of state’s traditional police power in relation to domestic animals; and (3) exclusion of greyhounds from coverage under Act did not violate equal protection.

A related issue in this case was whether state law was preempted by the Animal Welfare Act. The opinion noted that in determining whether the Kansas Animal Dealers Act was preempted by federal law, the critical inquiry was whether Congress, in passing the Federal Animal Welfare Act, intended to preempt state regulation, and that, absent a showing of intention to preempt, the state had authority to pass additional animal welfare legislation. The court further noted that the Federal Animal Welfare Act does not show intent to preempt state regulation of animal welfare.
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1986

International Primate Protection League v. Institute for Behavioral Research, Inc.

799 F.2d 934
Decided Sept. 4, 1986

Private individuals and organizations brought action seeking to be named guardians of medical research animals seized from organization whose chief was convicted of state animal cruelty statute violations. The United States District Court for the District of Maryland, John R. Hargrove, J., dismissed action, and individuals and organizations appealed. The Court of Appeals, Wilkinson, Circuit Judge, held that: (1) individuals and organizations lacked standing to bring action, and (2) Animal Welfare Act did not confer private cause of action.
Affirmed.
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