Current Cases

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Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin 
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is appealing a decision by the Circuit Court of Dane County, Wisconsin, to deny ALDF records concerning taxpayer-funded maternal deprivation experiments conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The suit contends that the university illegally ignored its obligations under Wisconsin’s open records law to release full records of federally-mandated animal welfare committee meetings in which the controversial research was approved.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. City of Livingston
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed lawsuit against the City of Livingston in California for unlawfully withholding records about water usage at a Foster Farms slaughterhouse and processing plant. The lawsuit contends that Foster Farms’ water usage should be disclosed as a matter of public interest because the Foster Farms facility reportedly uses two-thirds of the city’s water, and the state is in the middle of a severe drought.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. FDA I
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit in federal court to compel the Food and Drug Administration to produce inspection reports of factory egg farms without censoring important information about the hen population and living conditions. The case is presently before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which is reviewing the appeal en banc.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. FDA II
The Animal Legal Defense Fund and Center for Food Safety filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Food and Drug Administration for withholding records related to the federal agency’s approval of the controversial animal feed additive ractopamine.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Herbert
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with PETA, filed the nation’s first lawsuit against ag gag legislation, taking Utah to court for infringing on the free speech rights of activists, investigators, and journalists by criminalizing undercover investigations at factory farms. Utah’s ag gag law aims to prevent animal advocates and law enforcement from collecting evidence of egregious and illegal abuse of animals on factory farms.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Hormel Foods Corporation
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, Public Justice, and the Richman Law Group filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia Superior Court against Hormel Foods, alleging the company misleads consumers through the advertising of its Natural Choice® brand of lunch meats and bacon. Contrary to Hormel’s branding campaign, the suit alleges, meats the company advertises as “natural” actually comes from animals raised in the worst factory farms that employ additives, hormones and antibiotics, and contain ingredients that constitute artificial preservatives.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. LT Napa Partners LLC
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against Napa-based La Toque restaurant for violating the state ban on selling and distributing force-fed foie gras products. Animal Legal Defense Fund’s undercover investigations reveal that despite the state ban, La Toque routinely sells foie gras products derived from force-feeding birds to enlarge the birds’ liver (“foie gras”). La Toque sought to dismiss the case, but the trial court ruled that the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s lawsuit could go forward in an opinion that was upheld by the California Court of Appeal. The case is now stayed at the trial court pending the outcome of independent litigation challenging the constitutionality of California’s state ban on force-fed foie gras products.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Monterey County
A coalition of animal protection and conservation groups and a local Monterey resident filed a lawsuit against Monterey County in the Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino, for violating the California Environmental Quality Act. The lawsuit challenges the county’s failure to conduct the legally-required environmental review of its taxpayer-funded contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services. The contract authorizes Wildlife Services, a highly controversial federal program, to kill hundreds of animals in the county every year, including coyotes, mountain lions, and bobcats, without assessing the ecological impact or considering alternatives.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. NYPD
Senator Tony Avella joined the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund at a press conference announcing that The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed a petition with the New York Supreme Court asking the court to force the New York Police Department to turn over enforcement records regarding the city’s horse-drawn carriage industry.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Otter
The Animal Legal Defense Fund and a coalition of organizations dedicated to civil liberties, animal protection, food safety, labor rights, and the environment, along with journalists, won a final judgment in federal court to overturn Idaho’s attempt to silence factory farm whistle-blowers under that state’s ag gag statute. That judgment in The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s favor is now on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. USDA II

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit against the U.S. Department of Ariculture in federal court for the agency’s undue delay in responding to the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s petition to require labeling foie gras as an adulterated food product. Foie gras production requires force-feeding birds which induces severe liver disease.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Vilsack I
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, three other animal rights groups, and several individual plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit in Los Angeles against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act by allowing adulterated poultry – in the form of foie gras – to be sold to consumers.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Vilsack II
The Animal Legal Defense Fund and two concerned Iowa residents appealed a decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia permitting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to renew Cricket Hollow Zoo’s Animal Welfare Act license despite evidence of repeated and ongoing violations of the law. The case is now before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Vilsack III
The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for denying its request to intervene in an administrative enforcement action by the Department against Cricket Hollow Zoo.

Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec v. Harris
In 2012 foie gras industry plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, which would have suspended California’s foie gras sales ban for the duration of the litigation. The trial court preserved the law by denying the injunction, and was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On remand, however, the trial court ruled that the law violated the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act. That issue is now before the Ninth Circuit where the State of California is defending the foie gras law. The Animal Legal Defense Fund and other animal protection organizations have filed numerous amici curiae (friend of the court) briefs in support of the State of California in that lawsuit.

Audubon Society of Portland v. U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is helping to represent several conservation organizations in an environmental lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies over their plan to slaughter thousands of double-crested cormorants. The government’s plan is a misguided attempt to stave off salmon declines attributable to the Corps’ refusal to change the manner in which it operates dams.

Breaux v. Haynes
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of Louisiana residents against Dixie Landin’ amusement park and its owner Sam Haynes for inhumanely confining Candy, a 50-year old chimpanzee who has been confined apart from other chimpanzees for more than 40 years. The Animal Legal Defense Fund alleges that this isolation and neglect violate the Endangered Species Act in a groundbreaking lawsuit that should extend important legal protections to chimpanzees.

Compassion Over Killing v. FDA
The Animal Legal Defense Fund and Compassion Over Killing filed a complaint in a federal district court in Oakland against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Agriculture Marketing Service, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for failing to regulate animal welfare labeling on egg cartons. The district court dismissed the case, and that decision is currently on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals where the Animal Legal Defense Fund is arguing that the federal government has broad authority to regulate misleading claims in order to protect consumer interests.

Gordon v. University of Texas Medical Branch

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a whistleblower lawsuit on behalf of the former attending veterinarian and executive director of the Animal Resources Center of the University of Texas Medical Branch alleging violation of his civil rights and wrongful termination under the Texas Whistleblower Act because he refused to engage in or support the continued violations of the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed the lawsuit with the Silverman Law Group, the Law Office of Jennifer D. Ward, PLLC.

Graham v. San Antonio Zoological Society

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of local residents against the San Antonio Zoo for providing unsuitable shelter and housing conditions to Lucky, a solitary Asian elephant. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is seeking to have Lucky moved to a sanctuary where she can enjoy better living conditions and the companionship of other elephants.

Griggs v. Furry Babies
A group of consumers filed a lawsuit in LaSalle County Circuit Court against the Chicago pet store chain Furry Babies, Inc., claiming that the store sold sick puppies from puppy mills to unsuspecting consumers in violation of state consumer protection laws.

Keith v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
The Animal Legal Defense Fund and several Pennsylvania taxpayers sued the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to nullify regulations that permit puppy mills to confine mother dogs on wire flooring while providing only daily access to an exercise area. The lawsuit alleges that these regulations conflict with state law that requires the use of solid flooring for mother dogs along with unfettered access to an exercise area.

Ketcham v. U.S. National Park Service

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, Jamie M. Woolsey of the private Wyoming law firm Fuller, Sandefer & Associates, L.L.C., and two constitutional law professors filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of journalist Christopher Ketcham and wild bison advocate Stephany Seay, who are seeking access to Yellowstone Park’s controversial bison trapping operations that lead to the slaughter of hundreds of bison. The lawsuit argues that the First Amendment guarantees citizens and journalists reasonable, non-disruptive access to the publicly funded national park.

NRDC v. National Marine Fisheries Service
The Animal Legal Defense Fund joined the Natural Resources Defense Council in suing the Federal Government for putting whales and dolphins in danger of being killed by sonar and active explosions throughout southern California and Hawaiian waters. In March 2015, a federal judge agreed with the orgnizations and declared that the Navy’s extensive use of sonar in its war game exercises harmed endangered marine mammals in violation of environmental law. The parties are now waiting for the judge to decide how to remedy that violation of law.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Cooper

The Animal Legal Defense Fund joined a coalition of animal protection, consumer rights, food safety, and whistleblower protection organizations and filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a North Carolina anti-sunshine law designed to deter whistleblowers and undercover investigators from publicizing information about corporate misconduct. Under the law, organizations and journalists who conduct undercover investigations, and individuals who expose improper or criminal conduct by North Carolina employers, are susceptible to suit and substantial damages if they make such evidence available to the public or the press. That case is currently on appeal before

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Miami Seaquarium

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA, Orca Network, and Orca Network director Howard Garrett hit the Miami Seaquarium with a lawsuit contending that the facility’s imprisonment of suffering orca Lolita—currently held without the company of any others of her kind in a cramped tank with no protection from the harsh sun—constitutes a violation of the Endangered Species Act. That case is now on appeal before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Prizniak v. Animaland Zoological Park
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed suit on behalf of local residents against roadside zoo Animaland Zoological Park and its owners, James P. Melko, Jr., and Kathleen H. Melko, for violating the Endangered Species Act in failing to provide adequate care for animals housed at the facility. “Bear,” a gray wolf, and “Baby,” a Siberian tiger, are at the center of the suit, due to their ‘endangered’ status—but the Animal Legal Defense Fund alleges the treatment of additional animals—including two black bears, an arctic fox, and three capuchin monkeys—violate Pennsylvania State Game Commission regulations.

Salzer v. King Kong Zoo
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is assisting in legal representation of several North Carolina residents who filed a lawsuit against King Kong Zoo for violating the state’s animal cruelty law. The lawsuit alleges that the zoo causes unjustifiable pain and suffering by confining animals in small, barren cages, and failing to provide adequate veterinary care.

Showing Animals Respect and Kindness v. California Rodeo Salinas
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the California Rodeo Salinas and its head veterinarian Tim Eastman for failing to report animal injuries to the state veterinary medical board, as required under California law. The defendants are accused of significantly underreporting the number of animals injured at the California Rodeo Salinas, the largest rodeo in the state and one of the largest in the country. In the last two years, the nonprofit SHARK has documented injuries to 41 animals—yet the rodeo has reported only four of those injuries. The lawsuit was filed in the Monterey County Superior Court on behalf of SHARK, who has had to spend its limited resources monitoring the rodeo and documenting unreported injuries to animals.

Stephens v. Hendry County
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of local Hendry County residents after the county approved a primate breeding facility that could hold as many as 3,200 long-tailed macaques—a species linked with prior outbreaks of infectious disease. Hendry County approved the controversial project (“SoFlo Ag”) behind closed doors with only the facility’s supporters present and failed to hold the public hearing required by the state’s “Sunshine Law.” A circuit court judge ruled against the local residents, and the case is now on appeal before the Florida Second District Court of Appeal.

Stop Animal Exploitation Now v. Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a complaint on behalf of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) against Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc., in the first-ever lawsuit against an animal research lab under California’s state cruelty law and Unfair Competition Law. The lawsuit is before the California Court of Appeal.

Vancleve v. Chien et Chat, Inc.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a class action complaint against Barkworks, a Southern California pet store chain with locations in Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Riverside counties. The lawsuit alleges that Barkworks is violating California consumer protection laws by tricking customers into buying sick puppy mill dogs.

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