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Animal Law Podcast #59: The Case of the Downed and Desperate Pigs

By Mariann Sullivan — April 29, 2020

On this episode of the Animal Law Podcast, I speak with regular Animal Law Podcast guest Delcianna Winders along with two of her students in the Lewis and Clark Law School Animal Law Litigation Clinic, Hira Jaleel and Irene Au-Young, on a case they filed on behalf of several animal welfare organizations including Farm Sanctuary, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Outlook, Animal Welfare Institute, Compassion in World Farming, Farm Forward, and Mercy For Animals. This case was brought against the US Department of Agriculture and the Food Safety and Inspection Service over what the plaintiffs claim is these agencies’ “unlawful failure to protect the more that half million pigs who arrive annually at slaughterhouses in the United States unable to rise or walk,” otherwise known as “downed pigs.”

We discuss at length how the charges brought in this lawsuit violate the Human Methods of Slaughter Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the causes of action presented in this case, and the significant decreases in agency regulation that have exacerbated the already horrific conditions for these animals, as well as for people.

Delcianna J. Winders is a clinical professor of law and the director of the Animal Law Litigation Clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School, the world’s only law school clinic dedicated to farmed animal advocacy. Her scholarship has appeared in numerous law reviews, and she has also published extensively in the popular media. Prior to joining the Lewis & Clark faculty, Professor Winders was vice president and deputy general counsel for the PETA Foundation, the first academic fellow of the Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program, and a visiting scholar at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. She has also taught animal law at Tulane University School of Law and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. She frequently gives talks on animal law subjects, has been interviewed by major national and international news outlets, and was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine as one of “Six Women Who Dare.” Winders received her BA in Legal Studies with highest honors from the University California at Santa Cruz, and her JD from NYU School of Law. Following law school, she clerked for the Hon. Martha Craig Daughtrey on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Hailing from Pakistan, Hira Jaleel is currently pursuing her LL.M in Animal Law from Lewis & Clark Law School. Hira is a recipient of a Fulbright scholarship as well as Lewis & Clark’s Animal Law LL.M Leadership Award. She received her B.A-LL.B (Hons.) from the Lahore University of Management Sciences and is licensed to practice as an attorney in Pakistan. After graduation, Hira practiced in one of Pakistan’s top law firms for two years. There, she worked on litigation against the practice of dog fighting in Pakistan as well as litigation pertaining to the implementation of CITES in the country in a case related to wild felids being imported to be exhibited in political rallies. She has previously advised clients on Pakistan’s whistle-blowing laws vis-a-vis reporting of animal abuse in live animal export, and on the legal rights of clients threatened with eviction and seizure of their companion animals by housing authorities. Hira is working on litigating for farmed animals as part of the Animal Law Litigation Clinic at Lewis & Clark and is also currently interning with Animal Law Reform South Africa.

Irene Au-Young is a third-year law student at Lewis & Clark Law School. Irene’s passion for animal law was realized when her family adopted two pit bull terriers. Irene hopes to use her legal education to combat the social and legal elements that play into breed specific legislation. She also hopes to combat issues around animal agriculture and how they interrelate to both food security and climate change. In addition to animal law, Irene is interested in immigrants’ rights, specifically challenging policies that attempt to disqualify immigrants from receiving access to the courts.




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