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ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND v. SECRETARY OF AGRIC.

February 25, 1993

ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES R. RICHEY

OPINION OF CHARLES R. RICHEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 TABLE OF CONTENTS

 I. INTRODUCTION

 II. BACKGROUND

 III. DISCUSSION

 A. THE USDA'S REGULATIONS FOR DOG EXERCISE VIOLATE THE APA BECAUSE THE REGULATIONS DO NOT PROVIDE THE MINIMUM STANDARDS REQUIRED BY CONGRESS.

 B. THE USDA'S REGULATIONS REGARDING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL BEING OF NON-HUMAN PRIMATES VIOLATE THE APA.

 1. The Regulations violate the APR because they do not include the minimum standards intended by Congress.

 2. The Regulations do not address group housing for non-human primates in a manner consistent with the agency's original findings, later rejected by the Defendants.

 3. The Regulations regarding minimum requirements for non-human primate cages violate the APA in that they are arbitrary and capricious because they are inconsistent with the USDA's original findings.

 C. THE DEFENDANTS DELAY IN REQUIRING NEW CAGES SIZES UNDER THE ACT UNTIL FEBRUARY, 1994, VIOLATES THE APA BECAUSE IT IS AGENCY ACTION UNLAWFULLY WITHHELD.

 D. THE REGULATIONS VIOLATE THE APA BECAUSE IT PERMITS THE USE OF SPECIAL CAGES TO AVOID COMPLIANCE WITH THE ACT.

 E. THE REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE DEFENDANT SECRETARY DO NOT VIOLATE THE FOIA BECAUSE THE DEFENDANTS HAVE ACTED IN A MANNER THAT AVOIDS THE RIGHT OF ACCESS BY THE PUBLIC TO INFORMATION REGARDING THE CONDUCT OF THE REGULATED ENTITIES PERTAINING TO THE TREATMENT OF ANIMALS UNDER THE ACT.

 IV. CONCLUSION

 I. INTRODUCTION

 The Plaintiffs, two animal welfare groups and several individuals, allege that the Defendants, including the United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA") and the former Secretary of the USDA ("Secretary"), have violated the Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals Act. *fn1" 7 U.S.C. §§ 2143 et seq. This statute, enacted in 1985, is an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. Pub. L. No. 89-544, 80 Stat. 350 (1966). Thus, the use of animals and their humane treatment in the field of research as well as other areas of our national life has been the subject of legislative concern for over 25 years.

 The Plaintiffs allege that the final regulations issued by the Defendants under the Animal welfare Act, as amended in 1985, are arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law under the Administrative Procedures Act. 5 U.S.C. § 551, et seq. The parties have filed cross motions for summary judgment.

 After carefully considering the parties' motions for summary judgment, the supporting and opposing memoranda, the arguments of counsel, the underlying law, and the entire record in this case, the Court concludes that the Plaintiffs have successfully demonstrated that the Defendants violated the Administrative Procedures Act by enacting regulations that do not comply with the mandate of Congress as set forth in the Animal Welfare Act, as amended. Accordingly, the Court shall grant the Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, and shall deny the Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

 II. BACKGROUND

 In 1985, Congress passed the Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals Act ("Act"), *fn2" which is an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act ("AWA"). See 7 U.S.C. §§ 2131 et seq.3 The Act is designed to provide for the "humane handling, care, treatment and transportation of animals by dealers, research facilities and exhibitors." 7 U.S.C. § 2143(a)(1). Congress required the Secretary to promulgate standards in accordance with the Act to ensure the well being and humane treatment of animals, notwithstanding the importance of research. Id. § 2143(a)(1). The relevant portions of the Act provide:

 (2) The standards [to be promulgated by the Secretary] shall include minimum requirements --

 (A) for handling, housing, feeding, watering, sanitation, ventilation, shelter from extremes of weather and temperatures, adequate veterinary care, and separation by species where the Secretary finds necessary for humane handling, care, or treatment of animals; and

 (B) for exercise of dogs, as determined by an attending veterinarian in accordance with general standards promulgated by the Secretary, and for a physical environment adequate to promote the psychological well-being of primates.

 (3) In addition to the requirements under paragraph (2), the standards . . . shall, with respect to animals in research facilities, include requirements . . . for animal care, treatment, ...


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