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Titlesort descending Summary
Anderson v. Evans


Advocacy groups challenged governments approval of quota for whale hunting by the Makah Indian Tribe.  The Court of Appeals held that in granting the quota, the government violated the NEPA by failing to prepare an impact statement, and, that the MMPA applied to the tribe's whale hunt.  REVERSED.

Anderson v. Evans


Concerned citizens and animal conservation groups brought an action against United States government, challenging the government's approval of quota for whale hunting by Makah Indian Tribe located in Washington state.  On appeal by the plaintiffs, the Court of Appeals held that the failure of the government to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement before approving a whale quota for the Makah Tribe violated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The court also found that the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) applied to tribe's proposed whale hunt, as the proposed whale takings were not excluded by the treaty with the tribe.

Andrews v. City of West Branch Iowa
Andrus v. Allard


The Court holds that the narrow exception in the BGEPA for "possession and transportation" of pre-existing eagles and eagle artifacts does not extend to sale of the those lawfully obtained artifacts.  The legislative history and plain language of the statute is clear on Congress' intent to prohibit any commerce in eagles.  This prohibition on commerce in eagle artifacts does not constitute an unconstitutional taking because the ability to sell the property is but one strand in the owner's bundle of property rights.  The denial of one property right does not automatically equate a taking.  For further discussion on the prohibition in commerce of pre-existing eagle artifacts, see

Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act.

Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Otter The Animal Legal Defense Fund, and various other organizations and individuals, challenge Idaho Code § 18–7042 as unconstitutional. Section 18-7042 criminalizes undercover investigations of agricultural production facilities. ALDF alleges that § 18–7042 has both the purpose and effect of stifling public debate about modern agriculture and raises two substantive constitutional challenges against the State: (1) violation of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment; and (2) violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court first found that § 18–7042 is both content and viewpoint based, and thus, must survive the highest level of scrutiny. The Court held that the law does not survive strict scrutiny because it "would contravene strong First Amendment values to say the State has a compelling interest in affording these heavily regulated facilities extra protection from public scrutiny." Even if the interests in property and privacy of these industries is compelling, the law is not narrowly tailored as it restricts more speech than necessary and poses a "particularly serious threat to whistleblowers' free speech rights." Finally, the Court found that the law also violated the Equal Protection clause because the law was spurred by an improper animus toward animal welfare groups, furthers no legitimate or rational purpose, and classifies activities protected by the First Amendment based on content. ALDF's motion for summary judgment was granted.
Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Wasden In 2012, an animal rights activist went undercover to get a job at an Idaho dairy farm and then secretly filmed ongoing animal abuse there. Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group, publicly released portions of the video, drawing national attention. The dairy farm owner responded to the video by firing the abusive employees who were caught on camera, instituting operational protocols, and conducting an animal welfare audit at the farm. Local law enforcement authorities launched an investigation that culminated in the conviction of one of the employees for animal cruelty. After the video's release, the dairy farm owner and his family received multiple threats. In 2012, an animal rights activist went undercover to get a job at an Idaho dairy farm and then secretly filmed ongoing animal abuse there. Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group, publicly released portions of the video, drawing national attention. The dairy farm owner responded to the video by firing the abusive employees who were caught on camera, instituting operational protocols, and conducting an animal welfare audit at the farm. Local law enforcement authorities launched an investigation that culminated in the conviction of one of the employees for animal cruelty. After the video's release, the dairy farm owner and his family received multiple threats. Animal rights advocacy organization brought action against the Governor and Attorney General of Idaho, challenging statute that criminalized interference with agricultural production facilities as violative of the First Amendment's free speech protections, violative of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and preempted by federal law. The United States District Court for the District of Idaho entered summary judgment in favor of organization and granted organization's motion to permanently enjoin enforcement of the statute. The court held that 1) Idaho statute criminalizing entry into an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation violated First Amendment; 2) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining records of an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation did not violate First Amendment; 3) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining records of an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation did not violate Equal Protection Clause; 4) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining employment with an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation with the intent to cause economic or other injury to the facility's operations, property, or personnel, did not violate First Amendment; 5) Idaho statute criminalizing obtaining employment with an agricultural production facility by misrepresentation with the intent to cause economic or other injury to the facility's operations, property, or personnel did not violate Equal Protection Clause; and 6) Idaho statute prohibiting a person from entering a private agricultural production facility and, without express consent from the facility owner, making audio or video recordings of the conduct of an agricultural production facility's operations violated First Amendment. Affirmed in part; reversed in part.
Animal Legal Defense Fund Boston, Inc. v. Provimi Veal Corp.


District Court found that federal law preempts Massachusetts's consumer protection statute that requires retailers to inform consumers of relevant information, the disclosure of which may have influenced the buyer or prospective buyer not to enter into the transaction. The District Court also held that the Animal Legal Defense Fund could not enforce a cruelty to animals claim because it involves criminal statutes that only public prosecutors and legislatively-sanctioned groups may enforce.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert This case deals with the constitutionality of Utah's "ag gag" law, enacted in 2012. The law criminalizes lying to obtain access to an agricultural operation and the subsequent recording or filming once inside. According to statements made enactment, it is directed at undercover operations that investigate farm animal abuse. Plaintiffs assert that the law violates their First Amendment rights. On review of motions, the court first looked at whether the First Amendment applies to this type of "lying." Because a recent U.S. Supreme Court case makes lying that causes "cognizable legal harm" outside the protection of the First Amendment, the court examined the type of lying at issue in the Utah law. Ultimately, the court found that lying to gain access to these agricultural facilities does not in itself cause a legally cognizable harm. Thus, "absent an additional showing of harm, under either interpretation, at least some of the lies criminalized by the Act retain First Amendment protection." With regard to First Amendment protections for the act of recording once at an agricultural operation and whether a strict scrutiny standard applies, the court looked to other circuits that found the act of making speech (i.e., recording/filming) is protected. The State countered with the fact that such recording occurs on private property, but the court found the government cannot place criminal restrictions on speech simply because it occurs on private property. The court noted that the property owner can indeed remove the person from the property and sue for any damages resulting from the trespass, which is different than prosecution by the state to curtail speech. Finally, after finding that the act impinges protected speech, the court then analyzed whether it withstood a strict scrutiny review. The State proffered government interests that include concerns over worker protection and disease outbreak. However, the court noted nothing in the legislative history on these claims or any actual incidents that supported these asserted government interests. The court found the Act did not survive strict scrutiny as it was not narrowly tailored and instead was directed at the content of the speech (the act of recording a facility). The Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment was granted and the State's Motion for Summary Judgment was denied.

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