Activists Win One, Lose One

September 5, 2019

Court Dismisses HSUS Suit on Misuse of Pork Checkoff Funds 

An Appellate court dismissed the case against USDA and Sonny Perdue on August 23 that alleged the mishandling of checkoff funds. Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and a single pork producer together sued USDA over allowing National Pork Board to purchase four trademarks from the National Pork Producers Council. The court reversed a lower court’s decision, finding the plaintiffs lacked standing. The court noted the producer’s claim of harm was unsupported by the facts, which showed the National Pork Board efforts during the time in question yielded increased returns to pork producers.

Federal Government Must Put Records Online

In 2017 the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed suit against USDA for pulling animal welfare compliance data offline. A lower court dismissed the suit, finding courts lack the authority to force the federal government to publish documents online. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision indicating removing the documents violates the Freedom of Information Act reading-room provision. The court also found ALDF has standing as an animal rights group with interest in the information.