Forcing Disclosure of Foster Farms Water Usage Records
Animal Legal Defense Fund v City of Livingston
The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the City of Livingston California for unlawfully withholding records about water usage at a Foster Farms slaughterhouse and processing plant.
Foster Farms operates a slaughterhouse and poultry processing plant in Livingston, California that uses vast quantities of city water. The Animal Legal Defense Fund requested records from Livingston to investigate Foster Farms’ water usage during the severe and ongoing California drought, but the city refused to provide the records.
In 2016, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued the City of Livingston in the Superior Court of the State of California in Merced County for unlawfully withholding those records.
The California Public Records Act requires utility usage data to be disclosed if doing so is in the public interest. Our lawsuit contended that Foster Farms’ water usage is a matter of public interest because the Foster Farms facility was using two-thirds of the city’s water by some accounts, and the state was in the middle of a severe drought.
In 2017, we received Foster Farms’ water usage records from the City of Livingston. The records revealed that Foster Farms’ consumption of water resources remained steady or increased during the California drought.
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