An organization for all prosecutors, including appointed and elected and their deputies and assistants, supports the pending Animal Partisan petition. The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) is a private non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.

The petition requests that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)  issue a notice to convey that: 1) State government officials are not categorically preempted from enforcing state anti-cruelty laws by the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and 2) FSIS personnel should cooperate with state government officials in the enforcement of state anti-cruelty laws and improve clarity and frequency of communication (i.e., Letters of Concern (“LOC”)) to those officials.

The Animal Partisan petition was submitted to FSIS on Sept. 2, 2023, assigned No. 23-07. and referred to the FSIS Office of Policy and Program Development for review

In the newly submitted comments, the APA says: “We have reviewed Animal Partisan’s petition and are in favor of its request for a public notice that would clarify the jurisdiction of state and local law enforcement and prosecution officials to enforce state animal cruelty laws when animals are mistreated in federally inspected slaughter establishments. We also appreciate and support the petition’s call for greater cooperation between U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) personnel and state government officials in enforcing those laws.”

It adds that:  “As the petition notes, it appears there is confusion among some state and local officials about whether they have the authority to investigate and prosecute instances of livestock and poultry mistreatment in federal slaughter plants.

“It seems that some officials are under the misconception that federal laws such as the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. § 601 et seq.), Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA) (7 U.S.C.§ 1901 et seq.), and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) (21 U.S.C. § 451 et seq.) categorically preempt the enforcement of state animal cruelty statutes when animal abuse occurs in slaughter facilities,“ APA continues. “On the contrary, federal courts have made it clear that not all state anti-cruelty statutes are preempted by the FMIA or HMSA, for and that few, if any, are preempted by the PPIA.

A half dozen individuals and animal activist organizations previously endorsed the Animal Partisan petition.

Another petition, filed by Perdue Farms LLC,  also picked up a new endorsement.  Kristen Boffo and Walden Local filed strong comments in support of Petition 23-03. 

“We implore FSIS to reconsider their opinions and define separate pasture raised and free range claims for meat and poultry products, along with updating its guidance on allegations related to living and raising conditions to ensure anything labeled pasture-raised has seen fresh grass in a meaningful way,“ Boffo wrote.

The Perdue petition requests that FSIS conduct rulemaking to define separate “free range” and “pasture-raised” claims for meat and poultry products. The petition also requests that FSIS update its guidance on claims related to living/raising conditions to ensure that the claims align with consumer expectations.
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