Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law

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The Secretary fined petitioner $395,900 after finding that he bought and sold regulated animals without a license in violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), 7 U.S.C. 2134, and implementing regulations. The court found that the Judicial Officer did not sufficiently explain his reasons for treating aoudad, alpaca, and miniature donkeys as “animals,” and not “farm animals.” Nor did he sufficiently explain his conclusion that twenty-two of the sales to Lolli Brothers had a regulated purpose. The court concluded that petitioner's remaining contentions lack merit. Accordingly, the court granted in part and denied in part the petition for review and remanded to the agency to set out more fully the facts and reasons bearing on these two decisions. View "Knapp v. USDA" 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 filed suit against AQHA, alleging violations of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1, 2, and Texas antitrust law. Plaintiffs' allegations stemmed from votes by the Stud Book and Registration Committee of the AQHA, which had blocked AQHA registration of horses created through somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT or cloning). On appeal, AQHA challenged the district court's denial of its motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL). The court concluded that reasonable jurors could not draw any inference of conspiracy from the evidence presented, because it neither tends to exclude the possibility of independent action nor does it suggest the existence of any conspiracy at all. Therefore, the court concluded that the JMOL motion should have been granted in the absence of substantial evidence on the issue of an illegal conspiracy to restrain trade under Section 1 of the Act. Further, the Section 2 claim failed as a matter of law because AQHA is not a competitor in the allegedly relevant market for elite Quarter Horses. Accordingly, the court reversed and rendered judgment for AQHA. View "Abraham & Veneklasen Joint Venture v. American Quarter Horse Assoc." on Justia Law