A law is only as strong as its rate of enforcement
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.
Urging USDA to Enforce Animal Welfare Act Requirements for Social Media Exhibitors
Demanding USDA Revoke Animal Welfare Act License from Texas Exhibitor Jason Clay
Coalition Demands the Oregon Department of Agriculture Hold Mega-Dairies to Stricter Standards Concerning Pollution to Water Resources
Urging the EPA to Regulate Factory Farms’ Air Pollution
Urging the California Air Resources Board to Stop Factory Farms from Profiting from Pollution
Demanding the USDA Regulate the Mass Disposal of Farmed Animals During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Urging FDA Not to Require Plant-Based Milk Comparison Nutrient Statement
Submitted comments in response to FDA request on April 24, 2023
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USDA Restricting Access to Plant-Based Milks in National School Lunch Program is Dietary Racism
USDA Restricting Access to Plant-Based Milks in National School Lunch Program is Dietary RacismProposed rule would maintain an unnecessarily complicated and confusing process for children to get access to plant-based milkMay 11, 2023 Press Release
Animal Legal Defense Fund Urges FDA Not to Discriminate Against Plant-Based Milk Producers with Voluntary Nutrient StatementThe agency has recommended that plant-based milk producers include a statement on their labels comparing their products to cow’s milkApril 24, 2023 Press Release
Animal Legal Defense Fund Urges USDA to Strengthen Regulations for Handling and Exhibiting Wild and Exotic AnimalsRecommendations aim to decrease risk of zoonotic disease spread, animal escapes and attacks, and psychological and physical harm to the animalsApril 11, 2023 Press Release