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.”
Animal Legal Defense Fund lawsuit charges Special Memories Zoo with illegally mistreating lions, tigers, gray wolves, and other animalsFebruary 12, 2020 Press Release
Animal Legal Defense Fund and CAARE continue work to protect animals used in researchNovember 21, 2019 Press Release
Lawsuit alleges the government has unlawfully weakened protections for threatened and endangered speciesOctober 22, 2019 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.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Special Memories Zoo, LLC et al.