The Animal Legal Defense Fund brings lawsuits to enforce animal protection laws. But sometimes we aren’t able to sue, to help animals who are being harmed.
This may be because there is no law being violated, or because the government agencies charged with enforcing the laws refuse to do so and we do not have the standing to bring a lawsuit ourselves.
Government agencies are often tasked with interpreting and implementing laws. This includes regulations that agencies create and execute. The body of law involving these agencies is called “administrative law,” and the process of enacting and enforcing rules and regulations is the “regulatory process.”
We advocate for better, stronger animal protection laws and regulations. And we also use the regulatory process, to urge agencies to fulfill their duties and protect animals to the extent required by the law.
Here are some ways that the Animal Legal Defense Fund works within the regulatory process to protect animals:
- We file petitions for rulemaking: The Administrative Procedures Act allows any person or organization to request that a federal agency issue, amend or repeal a rule or regulation. We ask for tougher regulations and rules that are within the agency’s purview.
- We submit comments on proposed rules and regulations: Agencies considering changes to rules or regulations, or new rules or regulations, will solicit comments from the public and interested organizations. These comments must be considered, before the proposed changes may be made.
- We also put out alerts encouraging the public to submit comments of their own so the agency will aware that this is an issue people care about — and, with a critical mass of comments, will be inclined to respond to the public’s concerns. This is a critically important part of the regulatory process.
- We ask agencies to fulfill their regulatory duties: Regulations and rules must be enforced, to be effective. The Animal Legal Defense Fund urges agencies to fulfill their regulatory duties, when they have failed to do so — and we issue alerts asking the public to do the same.This is an especially helpful course of action when someone is violating the law in ways that harm animals, but there is no “standing” for us to bring a lawsuit.
When possible and necessary, these requests may be followed by lawsuits, asking courts to compel agencies to fulfill their legal duties.
Petition to the USDA submitted in June 2020
Petition to the FDA submitted in June 2020
Regulation enacted on April 30, 2020
Animal Legal Defense Fund letter asks Puerto Rico governor to investigate illegal treatment of endangered species and other animals at Dr. Juan A. Rivero National Zoological ParkDecember 16, 2019 Press Release
The USDA violated federal law in finalizing this rule, acting contrary to the mountain of evidence before it demonstrating the rule’s dangers, and flouting humane slaughter and meat inspection laws.September 17, 2019 News
The Edge of Extinction: Hundreds of Vulnerable Animal Species in Danger under Endangered Species Act RollbacksThe government announced distressing changes to the Endangered Species Act – weakening one of our nation’s most important animal protection laws. The ESA has prevented the extinction of numerous including the northern gray wolf and the Florida manatee.August 21, 2019 News