Judge won’t drop activists’ avian flu suit against USDA

Groups sued federal agency after a Humane Society of the United States proposal to incentivize poultry producers to reduce flock density as a means to prevent avian flu is denied


By Roy Graber, WATTPoultry.com

March 30, 2021


A federal judge refused to drop a lawsuit filed on behalf of three animal rights groups against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its administrators.


The lawsuit alleged the agency neglected to properly act to prevent the spread avian influenza.


The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Mercy for Animals and Farm Sanctuary filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court, Central District of California, in April 2020, with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS) and administrators Kevin Shea, Dr. Burke Healy and Dr. Mark Davidson as defendants.


The lawsuit stems from the plaintiff’s grievances against USDA, after HSUS proposed to the federal agency a plan in which USDA would incentivize producers who “give animals room to move naturally,” a HSUS spokesperson stated in an email.


HSUS alleged that by giving chickens more space, it would reduce the risk of the spread of avian influenza...


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