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.
Reviewing Additional Legal Options
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.”
The court’s decision ensures Special Memories Zoo is permanently closed following Animal Legal Defense Fund lawsuitJanuary 15, 2021 Press Release
For decades, Fischbacher, with his business partner Roy Horn, ran an infamous Las Vegas show that forced white tigers and lions to perform tricks in front of large audiences.January 14, 2021 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.
PETA and Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Pymatuning Deer Park