USDA Challenged on Animal Welfare Act

  • Client: Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Date: November 2006
  • Location: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit


In 2006, Schiff Hardin attorneys represented several plaintiffs in a case challenging the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) failure to adopt a policy to ensure the psychological well-being of primates pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act.

In a major victory on two important issues for federal animal protection law, the Ninth Circuit found:

  1. Federal court standing for a plaintiff whose interests in the health and development of a chimpanzee she visited were being harmed by the USDA's conduct
  2. Plaintiffs could challenge (as "final agency action") the USDA's decision to withdraw its "draft policy," which would have provided additional protections for primates covered by the Animal Welfare Act

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Veneman (469 F.3d 826, 2006 WL 3375347 (9th Cir. (Cal.))