Past Cases

The Animal Welfare Institute and its original co-plaintiffs, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals the Fund for Animals, the Animal Protection Institute (now known as Born Free USA), and Tom Rider (now deceased), brought claims against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and its parent company, Feld Entertainment Inc. (Feld), for the mistreatment of Asian elephants, alleging that a number of the circus’s routine practices violate the Endangered Species Act, including the forceful use of bull hooks to train, control, and "discipline" elephants as well as the continuous chaining of elephants for most of the...

Protection of Asian Elephants
 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) promulgated an Interim Final Rule regarding a horse slaughter inspection system. Specifically, the USDA had created a "fee for service" inspection system designed to facilitate the continued transport of tens of thousands of American horses for human consumption abroad. The Animal Welfare Institute and its co-plaintiffs challenged the rule on the grounds that it violated requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Protection of Horses
 

The Animal Welfare Institute and its co-plaintiffs brought claims against Beech Ridge Energy, LLC and its parent company for past and future takes of endangered Indiana bats as a result of the construction, turbine erection, and operation activities of an industrial wind facility without an incidental take permit, arguing that such activities constitute violations of the Endangered Species Act.

Protection of Indiana Bats
 

AWI and its co-plaintiffs brought claims against the Navy over its plans to build an Undersea Warfare Training Range (USWTR) southeast of the Florida/Georgia border, which has the potential to adversely affect millions of marine mammals, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale whose calving grounds are adjacent to the project site. The lawsuit alleges that the Navy and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which authorized the project, did not adequately analyze the environmental impacts of operating the range before deciding upon construction.

Protection of Marine Mammals (USWTR)
 

The Animal Welfare Institute and its co-plaintiffs brought claims pursuant to the Endangered Species Act and other laws against BP for burning critically endangered sea turtles as part of its clean-up efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The animal welfare and conservation groups subsequently amended their complaint to include the U.S. Coast Guard as a defendant for directing BP’s containment activities.

Protection of Sea Turtles