Justia Agriculture Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law
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Wilma Stuller and her late husband bred Tennessee Walking Horses. They incorporated the operation and claimed its substantial losses as deductions on their tax returns. The IRS determined that the horse-breeding was not an activity engaged in for profit, assessed taxes and penalties, and penalized them for failing to timely file their 2003 return. After paying, the Stullers and LSA, sued the government for a refund. The district court excluded the Stullers’ proposed expert. It determined that his expertise did not extend to the financial or business aspects of horse-breeding and he lacked a reliable methodology to opine on the Stullers’ intent. The court found that the corporation was not run as a for-profit business under 26 U.S.C. 183, and determined that the Stullers lacked reasonable cause for failing to timely file their 2003 tax return. The court also denied a request to amend the judgment and effectively refund taxes paid by the Stullers on rental income received from the corporation. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court followed Daubert in excluding the expert and applied each factor of the regulations to the facts. Only the expectation of asset appreciation weighed in the Stullers’ favor; almost every other consideration pointed to horse-breeding as a hobby or personal pleasure. View "Estate of Stuller v. United States" on Justia Law

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California Exposition and State Fairs (Cal Expo), regulated by Food and Agriculture Code 3301, is responsible for organizing the State Fair every July and enters into an agreement every year with the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The School sets up and manages the livestock nursery exhibit where pregnant pigs and other animals are put on display for three weeks to give birth and nurse. Cal Expo provides the land, tent, support infrastructure, and financial compensation, while the School provides the animals, equipment, and staff. Transporting pigs during the last two weeks of their pregnancy causes suffering due to stress and physical discomfort, potentially resulting in an aborted pregnancy. At the fair, the School places the pregnant pigs in farrowing crates, so small that the mother pigs cannot turn around or walk, for the three-week duration of the State Fair. Plaintiffs filed a complaint asserting a section 526a taxpayer action, premised on the theory that defendants waste taxpayer money and staff time by obtaining, transporting, and exhibiting pregnant pigs. The court of appeal affirmed dismissal, agreeing that California’s animal cruelty laws (Pen. Code, 597, 597t.)are not enforceable through a taxpayer action. View "Animal Legal Def.Fund v. CA Exposition & St. Fairs" on Justia Law

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Mike McGarland and Contender Farms challenge a USDA regulation promulgated under the Horse Protection Act (HPA), 15 U.S.C. 1821-31, requiring that private entities, known as Horse Industry Organizations (HIOs), impose mandatory suspensions on those participants found to engage in a practice known as "soring." The court affirmed the district court's holding as to justiciability where plaintiffs, regular participants in the Tennessee walking horse industry, have standing to challenge the Regulation and present a ripe challenge to it. On the merits, the court held that the district court erred in concluding that the Regulation is a valid application of USDA regulatory authority under the HPA. Accordingly, the court reversed and vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the USDA. The court remanded for entry of judgment in favor of plaintiffs. View "Contender Farms v. USDA" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs contend that the FDA is required by 21 U.S.C. 360b(e)(1) to proceed with hearings to determine whether to withdraw approval for the use of penicillin and tetracyclines in animal feed, and that the FDA's denial of two citizen petitions demanding such hearings was arbitrary or capricious within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 706(2). Based on the court's survey of the text, the context, the regulations, and the background legal principles, the court concluded that Congress has not required the FDA to hold hearings whenever FDA officials have scientific concerns about the safety of animal drug usage, that the FDA retains the discretion to institute or terminate proceedings to withdraw approval of animal drugs by issuing or withdrawing notices of opportunity for hearing (NOOHs), and that the statutory mandate contained in section 360b(e)(1) applies to limit the FDA's remedial discretion by requiring withdrawal of approval of animal drugs or particular uses of such drugs only when the FDA has made a final determination, after notice and hearing, that the drug could pose a threat to human health and safety. The court also concluded that it is not arbitrary or capricious for the FDA to pursue policies intended to reduce the use of animal feed containing antibiotics through a variety of steps short of withdrawing approval for the use of antibiotics in feed via a protracted administrative process and likely litigation. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's judgment to the contrary and remanded for further proceedings. View "NRDC v. US FDA" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a trade association representing meatpackers and processors, sued to enjoin enforcement of a California law against swine slaughterhouses, arguing that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), 21 U.S.C. 601, et seq., preempted application of the law. The California law dictated what slaughterhouses must do with pigs that could not walk, known in the trade as nonambulatory pigs. The Court concluded that the FMIA regulated slaughterhouses' handling and treatment of nonambulatory pigs from the moment of their delivery through the end of the meat production process. California's law endeavored to regulate the same thing, at the same time, in the same place - except by imposing different requirements. The FMIA expressly preempted such a state law. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit and remanded for further proceedings. View "National Meat Assn. v. Harris" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a trade association representing meatpackers and processors, sued to enjoin enforcement of a California law against swine slaughterhouses, arguing that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), 21 U.S.C. 601, et seq., preempted application of the law. The California law dictated what slaughterhouses must do with pigs that could not walk, known in the trade as nonambulatory pigs. The Court concluded that the FMIA regulated slaughterhouses' handling and treatment of nonambulatory pigs from the moment of their delivery through the end of the meat production process. California's law endeavored to regulate the same thing, at the same time, in the same place - except by imposing different requirements. The FMIA expressly preempted such a state law. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit and remanded for further proceedings. View "National Meat Assn. v. Harris" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a trade association representing meatpackers and processors, sued to enjoin enforcement of a California law against swine slaughterhouses, arguing that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), 21 U.S.C. 601, et seq., preempted application of the law. The California law dictated what slaughterhouses must do with pigs that could not walk, known in the trade as nonambulatory pigs. The Court concluded that the FMIA regulated slaughterhouses' handling and treatment of nonambulatory pigs from the moment of their delivery through the end of the meat production process. California's law endeavored to regulate the same thing, at the same time, in the same place - except by imposing different requirements. The FMIA expressly preempted such a state law. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit and remanded for further proceedings. View "National Meat Assn. v. Harris" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a trade association representing meatpackers and processors, sued to enjoin enforcement of a California law against swine slaughterhouses, arguing that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), 21 U.S.C. 601, et seq., preempted application of the law. The California law dictated what slaughterhouses must do with pigs that could not walk, known in the trade as nonambulatory pigs. The Court concluded that the FMIA regulated slaughterhouses' handling and treatment of nonambulatory pigs from the moment of their delivery through the end of the meat production process. California's law endeavored to regulate the same thing, at the same time, in the same place - except by imposing different requirements. The FMIA expressly preempted such a state law. Accordingly, the Court reversed the judgment of the Ninth Circuit and remanded for further proceedings. View "National Meat Assn. v. Harris" on Justia Law