Tony the Tiger: The Individual
USDC: Animal Legal Defense Fund v. USDA #17-cv-03903-PJH
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the USDA under FOIA for its failure to expedite records relating to Tony the tiger where those records related to potential imminent risks to Tony’s physical safety.
Appealing court's decision
The Animal Legal Defense Fund requested that the USDA conduct an inspection of Tony the Tiger after learning that his health was in decline. We submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the inspection report and requested expedited processing, which FOIA requires when delayed disclosure “could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual.” Our request for expedited processing was denied because the USDA asserted that Tony is not an “individual” because the term applies only to humans.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund sued because the USDA’s interpretation of “individual” as limited to humans does not comport with the common meaning of that term. Indeed, Merriam-Webster defines “individual” as “a particular being or thing as distinguished from a class, species or collection,” which applies to humans and nonhuman animals alike. Importantly, Merriam-Webster specifically refers to tigers in its usage examples of the term, stating: “[t]he markings on tigers are unique to each individual.”
Animal Legal Defense Fund Demands Feds Recognize Tony the Tiger as an “Individual” Protected by the Freedom of Information Act
Animal Legal Defense Fund Demands Feds Recognize Tony the Tiger as an “Individual” Protected by the Freedom of Information ActThe Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed an administrative appeal, urging the USDA to recognize a captive tiger as an “individual” protected by FOIA.May 24, 2017 Press Release
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture for refusing to recognize a captive tiger as an “individual” whose physical safety is at risk and refusing to expedite the organization’s public records request.July 11, 2017 Press Release
Animal Legal Defense Fund, Warren Triche Jr., Brandi J. Sutten and Jennifer Torquati v. State of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Michael Sandlin and Tiger Truck Stop, Inc. v. State of Louisiana ...., Through Its Secretary Robert J. Barham, Attorney General of the State of Louisiana, James D. "Buddy" Caldwell, and Iberville Parish Through Its President, J. Mitchell Ourso, JR.