In March, a judge in the US District Court, Western District of New York, dismissed a lawsuit brought by AWI and six other animal advocacy organizations to protect the welfare of nonambulatory disabled (NAD) pigs (also known as “downed” pigs). The groups sued the USDA in 2020 alleging the department had arbitrarily denied the plaintiffs’ petition for rulemaking that asked it to no longer allow downed pigs to be slaughtered for human consumption and to require instead that they be humanely euthanized. The suit also charged that the USDA had failed to investigate and submit a report to Congress on NAD pigs and their treatment, as required by law.
The USDA has banned the slaughter of NAD cattle and calves for human consumption, and the plaintiffs had sought the same protection for pigs. In dismissing the case, the court agreed with the federal government’s arguments that the plaintiffs lacked standing to maintain the suit because they had not been sufficiently injured by the department’s lack of action to report on or protect NAD pigs.