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.
December 27, 2019
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.”
Oral arguments in the appeal took place on June 12, 2019 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Big Cat Public Safety Act Passes the U.S. Senate in Victory for Animals
Big Cat Public Safety Act Passes the U.S. Senate in Victory for AnimalsThe bill helps end the rampant abuse of tigers and other big cats in captivity by banning private possessionDecember 6, 2022 Press Release
After Images of Employee’s Injury from Animal Attack Surface – OSHA Complaint Filed Against Texas Wild Animal Dealer and Roadside Zoo OwnerGraphic images of wound are posted on Tik-Tok by an employee of Gator Park — a facility owned and operated by Jason Clay.April 7, 2022 Press Release
Lawsuit Filed Against Tiger Creek for Violating Endangered Species ActThe lawsuit alleges federally endangered and threatened animals such as the tigers, lions, and ring-tailed lemurs are receiving inadequate care at Tiger CreekMarch 16, 2022 Press Release
Revoke Permit for Tony the Truck Stop Tiger
Animal Legal Defense Fund, Warren Triche Jr., Brandi J. Sutten and Jennifer Torquati v. State of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Upholding Lousiana’s Big Cat Ban
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.
Challenging the USDA’s Secret Policy on Laboratory Inspections
Rise for Animals v. USDA
Looking for case and legal resources? View ResourcesSee More
You Can Protect Animals
Since 1979, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has led the charge to win animals the legal protection they so desperately need—and deserve. Your generous gift will assure that we can continue to take on cases that advance the interests of animals.