Legal Advocacy

Our Legal Advocacy Program has been working since 2004 to use the legal system as a powerful tool to fight the systemic injustices of factory farming. We focus on creatively using existing criminal laws and civil litigation to target large-scale animal cruelty on factory farms and to protect compassionate consumers from manipulation and unfair business practices by the animal agriculture industry. Farmed animals are given almost no protection under the law, at both the state and federal levels, which makes our task that much more challenging – and important.

We’ve made great strides as we’ve confronted animal agribusiness—both its cruel practices and its unfair business practices.

Our Legal Advocacy Program has continued to grow and thrive, making progress for farmed animals.

Alderfer Farms


Status: Lawsuit filed

On December 1, 2023, Animal Outlook and Richman Law & Policy sued Alderfer Family Farm LLC and Alderfer Poultry Farm, Inc. (“Alderfer”) based on allegedly misleading and deceptive marketing claims it makes about its shell egg products. Alderfer, the complaint alleges, misleads consumers by marketing its eggs as laid by “Free Roaming” hens when many of the egg-laying hens in Alderfer’s supply chain have no outdoor access at all. Animal Outlook and Richman Law & Policy are fighting to end this type of unlawful conduct directed at D.C. consumers under the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act, and were assisted in drafting the Complaint by students with the Harvard Law School Animal Law & Policy Clinic.

Survey data is clear: people think “free roaming” means the animals can go outside on natural ground. But Animal Outlook intends to prove that Alderfer’s eggs are laid by hens who have have no meaningful outdoor access and will never touch natural ground cover such as dirt or grass, that these hens are intensely confined in crowded indoor barns for their entire lives, and, given these conditions are unable to express natural chicken behaviors. Even in the rare instance that Alderfer’s hens have “outdoor access,” the complaint alleges, they are crowded into small, wire-floored “porches” too tiny to accommodate more than a small percentage of the birds at once.

Alderfer eggs are produced in Pennsylvania and are sold throughout the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic, including in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

Complaint.

Press Release.



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Iowa VSD Records


Status: On August 10, 2023, in response to Animal Outlook filing a Complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board, Iowa's Department of Agriculture turned over previously-redacted information about the inefficacy of VSD+ depopulation attempts. Most shockingly, at one facility—seemingly the facility at which there was a "lack of attention to detail" in performing the depopulation—3,000 birds remained alive after nearly four hours of being subjected to VSD+.

Under Iowa’s Open Records Law, Animal Outlook requested and received documents related to the mass extermination of chickens on farms in Buena Vista County, Iowa, in response to the 2021-2022 bird flu outbreak. Those documents detailed the use of Ventilation Shutdown Plus (VSD+) to kill all of the birds on six farms, after bird flu was detected. Ventilation Shutdown Plus (VSD+) involves shutting off all sources of ventilation in a barn and pumping in heat or steam until the animals die–after suffering immensely–from suffocation or heat stroke. The method has been used throughout the country, including in Iowa, to kill millions of farmed animals en masse in response to the avian influenza outbreak, among other reasons.

The documents Animal Outlook obtained revealed that some birds remained alive after being subjected to between one and a half and nearly five hours of VSD+, and the remaining animals were killed either by being gassed or having their skulls manually or mechanically severed from their spinal columns. Further, the documents expose instances when VSD+ was ineffective due to poor insulation and “lack of attention to detail” when wrapping the barns to cut off air flow. The result is that a mass killing method that is already controversial because it causes immense and prolonged suffering inflicted even more suffering on the animals at these Iowa farms, because the barns were not compatible with the method from the outset and the method was not implemented properly.

Some information on the documents was redacted, including the number of animals that survived being subjected to VSD+ and were therefore killed using other methods. Animal Outlook challenged those redactions, arguing that Iowa’s Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has no legitimate reason for concealing this information under the Iowa Open Records Law.

Complaint.

Redacted Public Records.

Unredacted Public Records.

Press Release.



Case Farms


Status: Complaint filed

Animal Outlook has joined Legal Impact for Chickens (LIC) to sue Case Farms Hatchery, one of the country’s largest producers of chickens for meat. The lawsuit accuses Case Farms of “intentional, affirmative, and reckless acts of neglect and extreme violence” in violation of North Carolina’s animal cruelty law. The case stems from Animal Outlook’s 2021 investigation at Case Farms, which revealed newly-hatched chicks killed, mangled, maimed or trapped in equipment or machinery that was improperly operated or set up; chicks roughly handled, thrown, driven over with machinery, or having their throats crushed; instances of dumping fully conscious chicks into a macerator to be ground alive; and other horrors. Though many of the most painful standard practices in animal agriculture are exempt from animal cruelty laws, these acts by Case Farms – which the lawsuit notes are “inflicted intentionally, knowingly, and/or out of reckless disregard for life, with the full knowledge of Case Farms management” – are not. Animal Outlook and LIC are asking the court to find that Case Farms has engaged in unlawful animal cruelty and to issue an order that prohibits it from further violating the cruelty law.

Complaint.

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Bravo Criminal Prosecution


Status: The defendant has pleaded guilty and received the maximum fine

Following Animal Outlook’s undercover investigation at Bravo Packing*, which slaughters cows and horses for animal feed and has operated for over 60 years, Animal Outlook filed a private criminal complaint against Bravo’s owner, Joseph Merola. In December 2022, as a result of Animal Outlook’s footage, Merola entered a guilty plea with the court. 

The horrific undercover video showed workers dragging from a trailer a fully-conscious cow who was too ill or injured to stand, causing her to drop over the edge of the trailer and slam onto the concrete floor, where she bellowed and writhed in blood and feces. Over the course of the nearly 17-minute video, a Bravo worker botched several attempts to stun the cow, each time driving a steel bolt into her head causing apparent brain trauma but failing to render her unconscious, according to veterinary testimony. 

The allegations leading to the recent guilty plea were only the latest in a long line of allegations against Bravo, stretching back well over a decade. For example, horses whom Bravo killed and sold as animal food have been described as “emaciated,” “starving,” and “too weak to stand.” The company also has a history of producing food contaminated with both bacteria and drugs often given to race horses, resulting in fines and recalls

In addition to submitting the criminal complaint resulting in Merola’s plea, Animal Outlook also submitted a complaint to the FDA and the New Jersey Department of Health in 2020 for violations of federal and state food safety laws. Samples of Bravo pet food showed Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes contamination, and the FDA announced a recall on the products. Given the egregious, unsanitary conditions at Bravo, the FDA also brought a federal lawsuit against Bravo, culminating in the first permanent injunction of its kind against an animal food manufacturer for violating public safety standards.  The injunction required that the company pause making food for pets until it has complied with food safety requirements.

*No affiliation with Bravo Pet Foods

Read the press release about Merola’s guilty plea here.

Learn more about Animal Outlook’s undercover investigation of Bravo Packing here and about Animal Outlook’s food safety complaints about Bravo here



Beat the Lag

Status: Complaint submitted.

In October 2022, Animal Outlook submitted a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about a dairy industry campaign targeting Gen Z online gamers. The campaign, called “Beat the Lag (BTL),” uses popular video gaming platforms, such as Twitch and YouTube, and well-known gaming influencers to target youth aged 10 to 23 with an advertising campaign exalting the benefits of dairy products. “Beat the Lag”, a play on gaming terminology, is used here to contend that consuming dairy products boosts gamers’ energy. The complaint alleges that the campaign makes health, environmental, and animal welfare claims that range from misleading to absolutely false. It asks the FTC to enforce consumer protection laws by ordering the removal of all false and misleading Beat the Lag claims, prohibiting new false or misleading statements, compelling the campaign’s producers to publish corrections of their previous claims, and working with the USDA to prevent it from approving future advertisements containing false or deceptive claims.

Read the FTC complaint here.

Press Release


American Heart Association suit over "heart healthy" meat certification


Status: Complaint filed

In August 2022, Animal Outlook sued the American Heart Association (AHA) over the organization’s use of its “Heart-Check” certification mark on certain meat products. Our lawsuit alleges that, in exchange for a fee, the AHA allows companies to display the “Heart-Check” mark on meat products and market them as “heart healthy,” which is counter to AHA’s prior statements concerning the negative effects of such “foods.”

“For nearly 100 years the American Heart Association has made it its mission to educate consumers on healthy living,” said Animal Outlook Executive Director Cheryl Leahy. “That’s why it's so incongruous that they are now selling these pay-to-play heart healthy certifications for the very meat products they have publicly taken a position against.”

Complaint.

Press Release.


sick chicken inside factory farm

Maine Fish Cruelty Lawsuit


Status: In February 2023, Animal Outlook sued Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry - Animal Welfare Program (DACF-AWP) to force the agency to protect fish in the State’s growing aquaculture industry, as Maine law mandates.

In August 2022, Animal Outlook filed a petition for rulemaking, signed by over 150 Maine registered voters, that required the Maine DACF to begin the process of taking accountability for addressing cruelty in its booming aquaculture industry. The petition stems from Animal Outlook’s 2019 investigation into a Maine salmon hatchery. The investigation documented horrific violence against fish and brought to light that the welfare of fish in aquaculture facilities is not addressed by any agency in the state of Maine.

In September 2022, DACF responded to the petition, indicating that it had no intention of complying with the law. Animal Outlook sent this reply letter, reminding DACF of its legal obligation to apply the state’s animal cruelty laws to Maine’s booming aquaculture industry.  Still, the agency refused to fulfill its legal mandate.  Therefore, in February 2023, Animal Outlook sued DACF alongside Maine registered voters.  

Maine’s legislature has mandated that DACF ensure the humane and proper treatment of “every living sentient creature” in the state—including fish kept for aquaculture.  In addition, the agency has a legal obligation to initiate its rulemaking process when petitioned by 150 or more registered voters.  But despite the legislative mandate, and despite receiving a petition from over 150 registered voters, the agency has failed to craft regulations—let alone to enforce Maine’s cruelty laws—to protect the millions of aquatic animals as Maine’s booming aquaculture industry. The lawsuit argues that DACF has not only abdicated its legal obligation to protect animals, but it has also directly and unlawfully refused the demands of Maine voters.

Read the Complaint here.

Read the press release about the lawsuit here.

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sick chicken inside factory farm

Martin Farms Prosecution


Status: Appeal Won

Key Date: The Superior Court of Pennsylvania decided the appeal in favor of Animal Outlook on February 8, 2022

February 2022 Update

Martin Farms Animal Cruelty Victory: Appellate Court Orders Prosecution

On February 8, 2022, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, one of Pennsylvania’s two appellate courts, issued an opinion largely siding with Animal Outlook in its Martin Farms appeal. The appeal stemmed from a lower court’s February 2021 dismissal of Animal Outlook’s private criminal complaint alleging animal cruelty, aggravated cruelty, and neglect against Martin Farms and more than a dozen employees, after the District Attorney’s office refused to prosecute. The complaint was based on Animal Outlook’s 2018 undercover investigation, which led Animal Outlook to present to the Pennsylvania State Police and the District Attorney’s office a list of 327 incidents it determined to be violations of Pennsylvania’s criminal protection laws, many of which were captured on video.

In a 28-page opinion, the Superior Court recounted the lengthy factual history of the case, analyzed our arguments alleging the trial court had committed legal error, and ultimately concluded that Animal Outlook had demonstrated sufficient evidence of neglect and cruelty as it relates to Martin Farms’ handling of downed cows, excessive shocking and tail pulling, and disbudding of calves. The Court further held that Martin Farms’ conduct associated with these practices was not exempted from prosecution under Pennsylvania’s “normal agricultural operation” exemption.

The Superior Court reversed the lower court’s dismissal of Animal Outlook’s private criminal complaint as it relates to these incidents. The Superior Court then directed the lower court to order the prosecutor to accept Animal Outlook’s complaint and initiate prosecution for these incidents documented during our investigation.

We have never had any doubt that the cruelty and neglect revealed by our investigation is squarely within the scope of the conduct prohibited by Pennsylvania law and have long believed that if we were given access to fair and thorough process under the law, this cruelty would be recognized. We’re grateful that the Superior Court did just that here, thoughtfully considering the weight of evidence from our undercover investigation that showed beyond any shadow of a doubt that Martin Farms’ conduct violated Pennsylvania’s animal protection laws. The Court’s ruling that even so-called standard practices such as disbudding vulnerable calves with hot irons and without pain medication are not immune from prosecution sends a clear message that animals used in agriculture are worthy of protection.

Animal Outlook was assisted in the appeal by local counsel Mays and Rotenberg.

August 2, 2021 Update:

Following our investigation at Martin Farms, Animal Outlook urged the Franklin County District Attorney to pursue criminal charges against the farm and employees involved. Despite Animal Outlook’s full cooperation, the District Attorney announced more than a year after the investigation that he would not pursue criminal charges. Animal Outlook’s legal team used a unique procedure in Pennsylvania law to file a private criminal complaint, which the District Attorney also declined. In September 2020, Animal Outlook petitioned the Court of Common Pleas to reverse the District Attorney’s decision. The court declined our petition. Unwilling to abandon the pursuit of justice for the suffering cows at Martin Farms, Animal Outlook has appealed to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and is asking that court to overturn the Court of Common Pleas’ decision and require the District Attorney to institute criminal charges against Martin Farms and its employees. We have filed two briefs and are currently awaiting a schedule for oral argument before the Superior Court.


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Cooke Aquaculture False Advertising

Key Date: Lawsuit filed on June 28, 2020
Status: Case dismissed for procedural reasons

In April 2022, the judge in our lawsuit wrote that the cruelty we described was "grotesque and reprehensible," though she dismissed the case for procedural reasons. Now Animal Outlook has submitted a petition, signed by over 150 registered Maine voters, that requires the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF) to begin the process of applying Maine anti-cruelty laws to the state’s booming aquaculture industry. Read more about the petition, including the latest updates, here

On June 28, 2020, Animal Outlook, represented by the Richman Law Group, filed a lawsuit against Cooke Aquaculture for misleading and deceptive advertising in violation of the District of Columbia Consumer Protection and Procedures Act. The lawsuit alleges that Cooke’s advertisements that its practices are “sustainable” and “ecologically sound,” and that its salmon are “naturally raised” under “optimal” animal welfare standards constitute false advertising.

Cooke filed four separate motions trying to kill the case, but the court ruled against it on every one. On June 24, 2021, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia denied all four motions, and the case is now proceeding toward trial.

The lawsuit follows the 2019 release of Animal Outlook’s investigation into Cooke Aquaculture’s salmon hatchery in Bingham, Maine, the first-ever undercover investigation of salmon aquaculture in the United States. Our investigation revealed conditions far from “sustainable” or “natural,” including workers slamming, stomping, and slamming fish into concrete; improper veterinary practices; and filthy conditions, including fish with spinal deformities and fungal growths.

Our investigation is far from the first time Cooke has found itself in legal trouble for its irresponsible aquaculture practices which directly contradict its advertising claims. Fines and settlements totaling millions of dollars for violations of laws across multiple states, including the catastrophic release of 250,000 non-native salmon in Washington state, numerous permit violations in Maine and the illegal discharge of pollutants in multiple locations, have plagued Cooke over the past few years.

Cooke’s industrial aquaculture practices are a far cry from the wholesome, responsible image of “sustainable farming” that it actively portrays. Our lawsuit aims to stop Cooke from continuing to mislead and deceive consumers into purchasing its products.



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High-Speed Chicken Slaughter Lawsuit


Status: Currently in litigation

Key Date: Lawsuit filed on February 25, 2020

On behalf of the billions of chickens slaughtered in the United States every year, Animal Outlook, alongside the Humane Society of the United States, the Government Accountability Project (GAP), Marin Humane Society, and Mercy for Animals, sued the USDA over its reckless high-speed slaughter program.


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“Downed” Pigs Lawsuit

Status: Currently in litigation

Key Date: District Court for the Western District of New York denied the USDA’s motion to dismiss the case on June 28, 2021

As part of a coalition of animal protection groups, Animal Outlook filed a lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for failing to protect pigs who are too sick or injured to walk to slaughterhouses, posing serious risks to animals and food safety.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Rochester, New York, challenges the agency’s failure to follow Congress’s longstanding mandates regarding these “downed” or “non-ambulatory” animals, as well as its recent denial of a petition to ban their slaughter.

Every year, well over half a million pigs arrive at U.S. slaughterhouses too sick or injured to stand or walk. These animals are often kept in holding pens where they are unable to rise from feces-ridden floors before being slaughtered. Downed pigs are at a heightened risk of carrying a host of human-transmissible pathogens, including Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, swine flu, and Yersinia. They are also at a heightened risk of inhumane handling, including being excessively electro-shocked, prodded, kicked, shoved and dragged by workers attempting to force them to move.

In 2002, Congress amended the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act—which governs not just the slaughter of animals but also their handling at the slaughterhouse—to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to investigate and report to Congress on a host of issues related to non-ambulatory livestock, including humane handling, and, based on this report, to promulgate any regulations needed to protect these animals. Despite the passage of nearly two decades, there is no indication that the USDA has ever reported on non-ambulatory pigs, even though pigs comprise approximately 75% of livestock slaughter in the U.S.

In 2015, an Animal Outlook investigation at a Hormel supplier in Minnesota revealed egregious acts of cruelty committed against “downed” pigs who were unable to walk. Our investigator witnessed these pigs being brutally dragged to the slaughter line with metal hooks in their mouths, beaten with paddles, and repeatedly shocked with electric prods to force them to slaughter.

“This litigation represents an important step in the recognition of basic humanity toward the sickest and most injured pigs in the pork industry. No compassionate society should deny these suffering animals protection against the last torturous dragging or abuse in their final moments, merely to get them into the slaughter line so they can be sold,” said Will Lowrey, counsel for Animal Outlook.

On June 28, 2021, the District Court for the Western District of New York denied the USDA’s attempts to have the case dismissed. The case now proceeds toward trial.


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High-Speed Pig Slaughter Lawsuit

Status: Currently in litigation

Key Date: District Court for the Western District of New York denied the USDA’s motion to dismiss the case on June 28, 2021

On December 18, 2019, Animal Outlook joined six other animal protection organizations in filing a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) challenging the agency’s decision to reduce oversight at pig slaughterhouses and eliminate line speeds on slaughterhouses, exposing millions of pigs to greater suffering and flouting federal humane slaughter, meat inspection, and environmental protection laws. The animal protection groups are represented in the lawsuit by the Lewis and Clark Animal Law Litigation Clinic

The lawsuit challenges the USDA’s complete revocation of limits on the number of pigs that can be slaughtered per hour. Previously, a slaughterhouse could kill up to 1,106 pigs an hour. High-speed slaughter is linked to increased humane handling violations, including failure to properly render pigs unconscious before they have their throats slit and are dropped into scalding tanks.

The USDA’s decision to cut line speed limits will also lead to approximately 11.5 million more pigs being slaughtered annually at these massive industrial plants, according to USDA profit estimates for the rule.

“The slaughter of pigs for the pork industry is already a cruel, grueling, and fast process for both the animals and humans involved, who are treated as mere cogs in a money-making machine” says Cheryl Leahy, Executive Vice President of Animal Outlook. “Speeding up the slaughter lines and putting oversight in the hands of the industry means an even darker reality for millions of animals in their last moments of life and a reckless system for workers and the public.”

The lawsuit also challenges the USDA’s decision to remove and relocate federal inspectors in slaughterhouses. Federal law requires agency inspectors to ensure that animals at slaughterhouses are not subjected to cruel handling, including dragging and beating, and to ensure that sick animals don’t enter the food supply.

The USDA has long asserted that its inspections are the most effective way to protect against disease epidemics that could devastate animal populations and threaten public health. Yet, at the same time the agency is preparing for the possibility of a disastrous outbreak of African swine fever—which is expected to decimate up to a quarter of the world’s pig population—it is replacing its front-line inspectors with untrained and overworked slaughterhouse staff.

In 2015, Animal Outlook investigated a pig slaughterhouse in Minnesota operating under a waiver allowing increased line speeds. Our investigator witnessed egregious acts of cruelty committed by workers trying to keep pace with the rapid slaughter line, including sick and injured pigs unable to walk being dragged and electrically prodded, numerous instances of improper stunning potentially leading to animals entering the scalding tank while still alive, animals being beaten, and pigs covered in feces or pus-filled abscesses being slaughtered and processed for human consumption. You can listen to our investigator discuss this experience here and sign our petition against high-speed slaughter.

On June 28, 2021, the District Court for the Western District of New York denied the USDA’s attempts to have the case dismissed. The case now proceeds toward trial.




sick pig inside factory farm

California Proposition 12 Lawsuit

Status: On May 11, 2023, the Supreme Court affirmed the 9th Circuit’s dismissal of the case, thereby ending the case with Proposition 12 intact. The Court’s opinion vindicates the right of all of us to stand up and refuse to be complicit in cruel industries like the pork industry. The court said “[i]n a functioning democracy, those sorts of policy choices…belong to the people and their elected representatives.” It’s not huge corporations who get to decide it’s morally acceptable to commit cruelty for profit - the power to determine what’s morally allowable in society belongs to us. This is a monumental day for the principle that we all have the power – with our wallets and our political action as citizens –  to dismantle cruelty, and ultimately the animal ag industries that rely upon it to exist.  

Key Dates: On October 11, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court hear the appeal of the decision by the 9th Circuit Court Appeals to dismiss the case, brought by the National Pork Producers Council. Animal Outlook was part of a coalition of animal protection organization that intervened in the case to help California defend Proposition 12.  On May 11, 2023, the Supreme Court affirmed the 9th Circuit’s dismissal of the case, thereby ending the case with Proposition 12 intact.

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calves being transported for slaughter

Hormel Lawsuit (Amicus)


Status: Currently in litigation

Key Date: Amicus curiae brief filed on August 6, 2019

Animal Outlook, along with two other animal protection organizations, filed an amicus curiae brief (“friend of the court” brief) in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in support of Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) false advertising lawsuit against Hormel.

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Superior Farms Lawsuit


Status: Victory - Case settled with consent decree ordering Superior Farms to pay a substantial fine and implement training and procedures for humane slaughter

Key Date: Consent decree signed on May 15, 2019

Following our 2017 undercover investigation at Superior Farms, the first ever look inside a United States lamb slaughterhouse, Animal Outlook joined Public Justice in filing a lawsuit under the False Claims Act.


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Tyson Foods Prosecutions (Case 1)

Status: Victory - 9 employees convicted on 22 counts of animal cruelty

Key Date: Convictions between 2017-2019

Following our groundbreaking 2016 investigation into Tyson Foods’ broiler breeder factory farms in Virginia, Animal Outlook’s vigorous pursuit of prosecution led to the conviction of nine former employees on 22 counts of animal cruelty, the first-ever convictions for cruelty to chickens raised for meat.


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crowded pigs inside factory farm

Egg Labeling Lawsuit

Status: Appeal denied

Key Date: Ninth Circuit opinion issued February 27, 2017

In 2013, Animal Outlook (then Compassion Over Killing) and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) co-filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), two agencies within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for failing to regulate animal welfare labeling on egg cartons. Several Bay Area egg consumers who had been deceived by misleading animal welfare claims on egg cartons were co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Pro bono counsel was provided by Bingham McCutchen, LLP.

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Foie Gras Lawsuit


Status: Summary judgment granted for USDA

Key Date: Summary judgment granted on December 14, 2016

Animal Outlook (formerly Compassion Over Killing), Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary, and Animal Protection & Rescue League, and several concerned individuals joined forces to file a lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for allowing the sale of a diseased poultry product commonly known as foie gras.

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Price Fixing Lawsuit


Status: Victory – Dairy industry ordered to pay dairy consumers $52 million in class action settlement (Animal Outlook conducted initial research and case theory development)

Key Date: Settlement reached on September 7, 2016

The dairy industry has consistently shown its lack of regard for animal welfare and the environment. Now it’s milking its own consumers by illegally jacking up prices.

On Monday, Sept. 26, 2011 several dairy consumers, including members of Animal Outlook (then Compassion Over Killing), filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of consumers alleging that various dairy companies and trade groups combined to form Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) in order to engage in a price fixing scheme that inflated the price of milk.

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Truth In Egg Labeling Lawsuit


Status: Appeal denied

Key Date: Appeal denied on February 27, 2017

Walk into any grocery store in the US, and you’ll likely find cartons of eggs bearing a variety of advertising schemes ranging from images of happy hens roaming around outside to claims such as “animal-friendly.” Surprisingly though, what consumers see or read on the outside of an egg carton doesn’t necessarily represent how the hens who laid those eggs were treated.

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"Humane" Claims Lawsuit


Status: Victory – Kroger agreed to remove “humane” label from Simple Truth chicken products

Key Date: Settlement reached in October 2014

On February 11, 2014, a consumer of Simple Truth chicken—Kroger, Co.'s store brand—filed a class-action lawsuit in the Superior Court of California in the County of Los Angeles alleging that the grocery giant is falsely and deceptively touting its Simple Truth chicken as having been sourced from chickens raised "in a humane environment," despite the fact that the birds are treated no differently than other mass-produced chickens confined on factory farms and killed in industrial slaughter plants.

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Tyson Foods Prosecution (Case 2)


Status: Facility owner pled “facts sufficient” to cruelty to animals

For several weeks, an Animal Outlook investigator worked inside Atlantic Farm, a Temperanceville, Virginia facility with more than 225,000 birds crammed inside filthy warehouses. The investigation marked the second time in little more than a year that Animal Outlook has exposed horrific cruelty to birds within the poultry giant’s supply chain.

The facility owned pled “facts sufficient” to charges of cruelty to animals and agreed to a plea bargain in which he agreed to not work with animals for a year and to take a course on compassion to animals.

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Mason Dixon Dairy Prosecution


Status: Former employee convicted of animal cruelty

In 2017, an Animal Outlook investigation revealed violent abuse of gentle mother cows at Mason Dixon Farms, a massive dairy factory farm in Pennsylvania with more than 2,500 animals. The investigation documented egregious cruelty to animals including workers kicking cows in the face, punching them in their sensitive udders, excessively shocking them with an electric prod, jabbing them with pens or elbows, and twisting or bending their tails. After we submitted evidence to local authorities, one former Mason Dixon employee pled guilty to three counts of animal cruelty.

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Bravo Packing Pet Food Contamination


Status: Pending FDA Review

Key Date: Complaint submitted to U.S. Food and Drug Administration and New Jersey Department of Health on December 10, 2020

Animal Outlook submitted a detailed complaint against Bravo Packing, Inc. (no affiliation with Bravo Pet Foods) to the FDA and the New Jersey Department of Health on December 10, 2020, after we tested a sample of Bravo’s Performance Dog frozen raw pet food and discovered that it contained Salmonella. Our complaint accused Bravo of violating the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as well as analogous New Jersey food safety laws, by selling adulterated pet food.

The FDA then inspected Bravo Packing’s facility in New Jersey, tested samples of its products, and found Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The FDA announced a recall of the company’s Performance Dog and Ground Beef frozen raw pet foods on March 3, 2021.

If your pet has become sick after eating these foods, please contact us at info@animaloutlook.org.

Bravo Packing (or associated businesses) slaughters horses, provides dead animal removal services, and makes raw frozen foods for pets and exotic animals containing beef, horse meat, and other cow and horse body parts. It has a history of animal cruelty allegations stretching back well over a decade. For example, horses whom Bravo killed and sold as animal food have been described as “emaciated,” “starving,” and “too weak to stand.”

The company also has a history of producing contaminated food. Its pet food has been recalled before due to Salmonella contamination. The FDA has found in Bravo’s food for exotic animals both Pentobarbital, a drug which is commonly used to euthanize horses, and Phenytoin, which is commonly administered to racing horses.

In addition to food safety issues like those discovered at Bravo Packing, many consumers are unaware that farmed animals suffer immeasurably within the loosely regulated pet food industry. Many of these animals—often sick, injured, or unable to walk—were deemed unfit for human consumption and their bodies, including “blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, and stomach and rumen contents” make their way into pet food. Bravo itself produces food for animals made from animals who died of causes other than slaughter, or who were dying or disabled at slaughter, according to a 2018 consumer complaint to the FDA.


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Quanah Cattle Company Prosecutions


Status: Three former employees convicted of animal cruelty

In 2013, an Animal Outlook undercover investigator worked inside Quanah Cattle Co. (QCC), an animal agribusiness company in Kersey, Colorado that purchases newborn calves from surrounding dairy factories and temporarily confines them before shipping them out to be raised for their meat. Just days old, many of these calves – some of whom still have their umbilical cords hanging from their bodies – are too feeble or frightened to walk steadily.  As our footage shows, in the process of being moved on and off trucks, these fragile animals are violently dragged by their legs, pulled by their ears, lifted by their tails, kicked, thrown, slammed, and flipped.

Based on Animal Outlook’s investigation, three former Quanah Cattle Company employees were convicted of animal cruelty. Two former employees were sentenced to “two years supervised probation and ordered to pay a fine of $500. As conditions of probation, each man must complete 300 hours of public service and a Making Better Choices class.” A third employee was sentenced to “two years supervised probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine. As conditions of probation, he must complete 300 hours of public service and a Making Better Choices class.”

More news about this case:

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Cal-Cruz Hatcheries Lawsuit


Status: Victory
Key Date: Settlement reached in June 2012

Animal Outlook documented shocking abuses of newly-hatched chicks and ducklings at Cal-Cruz Hatcheries in a 2009 undercover investigation. We immediately turned the video over to the law enforcement authorities at the Santa Cruz County Animal Services Authority and the District Attorney’s Office. In response, humane law enforcement conducted a follow-up investigation which corroborated our findings—and resulted in the rescue of 88 ducklings.

But officials failed to bring charges, so Animal Outlook (then Compassion Over Killing), represented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, took Cal-Cruz Hatcheries to court.

Continue Reading…


Central Valley Meat Slaughterhouse Closure


Status: Slaughterhouse temporarily shut down by USDA

An undercover video, filmed by an Animal Outlook investigator in 2012, exposed rampant animal abuse and suffering inside Central Valley Meat Co. (CVM), a slaughterhouse in Hanford, California. CVM was a major supplier to the USDA’s National School Lunch Program and other federal food initiatives. Most of the animals slaughtered by CVM at the time of the investigation were “spent” dairy cows who are no longer economically viable as milk-producers to the dairy industry. The investigation revealed downed cows, unable to walk to the kill floor, shot in the head two, three, even four times, and workers often walking away while the animal continues to struggle and kick. Some downed cows who were still alive after being shot in the head were then suffocated by workers who stood on their mouths and nostrils preventing the cows from breathing. Sick or injured cows were repeatedly shocked and workers pulled or lifted them by their tails in an attempt to force them to stand and walk.

After viewing the footage, the USDA temporarily shut down the facility, citing “egregious inhumane handling and treatment of livestock.”

View USDA Notice of Suspension

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Los Angeles Times
Fresno Bee
CNN
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
ABC World News
Daily Mail


"Animal Care Certified" Eggs Petition


Status: Victory - The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that the United Egg Producers (UEP) deceptive logo would no longer be stamped on egg cartons nationwide

Key Date: September 30, 2005

From 2002 to 2005, the majority of U.S. egg producers labeled their egg cartons with a logo that read “Animal Care Certified.” Despite the image conveyed by such a message, hens who were laying “Animal Care Certified” eggs were still subjected to abuses so terrible, they would lead to prosecution if forced on the dogs or cats with whom we share our homes.

In 2003, Animal Outlook filed legal petitions with federal agencies and the Better Business Bureau, alleging that these producers were engaged in misleading advertising. But this was just the beginning of our campaign.

Over the next two years, we investigated so-called “Animal Care Certified” egg farms, argued our case two times before the Better Business Bureau, lobbied federal agencies, produced damning media exposés, conducted consumer polls and public outreach, and even filed a lawsuit.

Our hard work paid off not only with nationwide media coverage of the abuses endured by so-called “Animal Care Certified” hens, but on September 30, 2005, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that the United Egg Producers (UEP) deceptive logo would no longer be stamped on egg cartons nationwide, as soon as April 1, 2006.

This landmark victory received widespread media attention, including articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, USA Today and the Des Moines Register.

Despite all of these steps, the “Animal Care Certified” is still being used. In February 2008, we documented this misleading logo on egg cartons being sold in stores in New Jersey. Read about the consumer fraud lawsuit we filed in New Jersey in February 2008.

More news about this case:

Washington Post
The New York Times