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Animal Law Podcast #71: A Case of Bird Flu

By Mariann Sullivan — April 28, 2021

On this episode of the Animal Law Podcast, I speak with Laura Fox and Daniel Wiener about The Humane Society of the United States v. United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services, in which animal advocacy groups are taking on the USDA’s plans for what to do to the chickens who, trapped in factory farms, inevitably come down with bird flu, endangering humans as well as birds with a potential pandemic. After the USDA virtually ignored the suggestion that the birds should be kept in less crowded and less brutal surroundings as a way to possibly avoid such an outbreak, the agency instead decided the birds’ ventilation should be shut off so they can slowly die a horrible death. Oh, and the “farmers” will be compensated by taxpayers for their losses. The horrors visited upon animals seem to keep getting worse, but at least a recent standing decision in US District Court in California will let the case proceed and the courts will have an opportunity to decide whether they have finally just gone too far.

Laura Fox joined the Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Protection Law department in 2015 as an attorney focusing on issues related to puppy mills, and now is the Staff Attorney for Farm Animal Protection working on efforts to reduce extreme confinement practices and challenging their environmental impacts. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Animal Law at George Mason’s Scalia Law School. Daniel Wiener is an associate in the Litigation practice of Shearman and Sterling.

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