Legally Brief

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director on April 12, 2013

Legally Brief

As the days grow warmer here in Northern California, the Animal Legal Defense Fund docket is heating up with innovative ways to fight animal cruelty. ALDF launched a video series and a brand new smartphone app for reporting animal abuse. And we are funding an Oregon state prosecutor focused exclusively on prosecuting animal abuse. Our legal battle to end the cruelty of force-fed foie gras is also gaining steam. All in all, we are leading the fight for justice for animals!

This Just In!

In a rare criminal prosecution of farmed animal abuse, felony criminal charges were filed against the owners of A & L Poultry. You might remember this story from last year, when ALDF filed a civil lawsuit in the largest California farmed animal rescue in history. The defendants abandoned 50,000 hens to starve to death. Thanks to the enormous efforts of volunteers, three animal sanctuaries, which ALDF is representing, were able to rescue the surviving 5,000 hens.

Animal testing facilities have also been taking big hits. We filed a first-of-its kind lawsuit to hold Santa Cruz Biotechnology (a biomedical manufacturer that harvests blood from goats) accountable for animal abuse. Goats were found starving, with untreated skin conditions, broken bones, and painful respiratory ailments. The USDA is investigating the lab for 20 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Santa Cruz Biotech could face at least a $200,000 penalty.

Want to know more about animal law? Check out ALDF’s new 30 Second Animal Law video series, where experts answer questions in 30 seconds or less! In my video, I answered the question “what is the biggest problem for animals under the law?” But we’ve also got great videos featuring champion cyclist Levi Leipheimer speaking out against puppy mills and Hampton Creek Foods, a company celebrated by Bill Gates for its plant-based product “Beyond Eggs.” Our latest video answers the question, “So you want to be an animal lawyer?”

Our Animal Book Club is off and running with our interview with bestselling Rin Tin Tin author Susan Orlean. We also sat down with Kim McCoy, former Whale Wars star and current executive director of One World One Ocean Foundation, to talk about her work protecting marine animals. Taking things in a new direction, we also interviewed Aaron Simpson, a vegan mixed martial artist and animal advocate.

Fighting for animals just got easier with “ALDF Crime Tips”: a first-of-its-kind app designed to let people discreetly report animal abuse in their community right from their smartphone. It’s a great way for people to join forces with ALDF in stopping animal abusers.

A Just Cause

“Cage-free” and “free-range”–when juxtaposed with misleading images on egg cartons, these terms can confuse well-meaning consumers. Our egg labeling lawsuit with Compassion Over Killing aims to hold government agencies responsible for proper labeling on egg cartons. During our Easter Egg Action Week, a whopping %51 of survey respondents said they don’t eat eggs at all! Way to go animal advocates!

La Toque

In my opinion piece in the Napa Valley Register, I explained how ALDF undercover investigators have shown Napa restaurant “La Toque” is violating California’s ban on force-fed foie gras. ALDF’s lawsuit aims to protect animals from such bullying–and to give Californians the assurances provided by the law, especially when it comes to the production of food! Meanwhile our case continues against Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the largest producer of force-fed foie gras in the nation. ALDF is doing everything we can to serve up justice and to protect animals from exploitation–gourmet priced or not.