Below you will find links to relevant case law not pertaining to the Animal Welfare Act. Cases have been indexed chronologically, most recent at the top.


Cetacean Community v. Bush

386 F.3d 1169
Decided Oct. 20, 2004

Suit was brought against the government on behalf of all of the world’s whales, porpoises, and dolphins (cetacean community) alleging proposed deployment by Navy of low frequency active sonar (LFAS) violated various environmental statutes. The government moved to dismiss the case. The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, 249 F.Supp.2d 1206, granted the government’s motion to dismiss. Plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, held that animals lacked standing to sue under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) for alleged violations of Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Court concluded by noting its agreement with the 1993 decision in Citizens to End Animal Suffering & Exploitation, Inc., in which the court stated, “[i]f Congress and the President intended to take the extraordinary step of authorizing animals as well as people and legal entities to sue, they could, and should, have said so plainly.” 836 F.Supp. at 49. Read the case


ASPCA v. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

317 F.3d 334
Decided Feb. 4, 2003

Former elephant handler and others sued circus owner under citizen-suit provision of Endangered Species Act, alleging circus mistreated elephants, and seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The District Court (D.C.) dismissed the complaint for lack of standing. The D.C. Court of Appeals reversed holding appellants met the requirements for standing. In his opinion Circuit Judge Randolph wrote: “In [a previous case] we left open the question whether “emotional attachment to a particular animal … could form the predicate of a claim of injury. We answer that question in the affirmative today.” Read the case (pdf)