Institutional cases

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2001:


Walla Walla, Washington county prosecutor Jim Nagle has “determined that criminal prosecution was not warranted” for alleged violations of humane slaughter and anti-cruelty laws at the Iowa Beef Packing plant in Wallula, the Washington State Department of Agriculture announced in mid-April, 11 months after receiving undercover video from the Humane Farming Association which showed cattle being skinned and dismembered while alive and conscious. The WSDA case summary said that Nagle “concluded there was insufficient admissible evidence to prove criminal corporate liability” because “the acts were not done by employees in the course of employment,” and “unedited video showed that employees took corrective action” when conscious animals were seen. Therefore, the WSDA continued, Nagle “could not conclude that the alleged activity would benefit IBP or that there was evidence of intent to benefit…Neither was there any basis for imputing the alleged acts to” IBP, though the improper stunning allegedly resulted from trying to kill cattle at too fast a pace. Nagle was said to be “particularly concerned that the unedited video demonstrated HFA’s intent to promote a particular agenda through the edited tape, such that all evidence developed by HFA was discredited.” The ruling appeared to contradict the precepts of criminal law that crimes cannot be retracted and that physical evidence is not necessarily negated by observer bias.

Claiming to have spent $20 million on improvements since being fined $9,000 for Animal Welfare Act violations in 1998 and flunking USDA inspections in 1999 and 2000, the University of Connecticut announced on April 20 that it would seek an out-of-court settlement of new charges filed by the USDA on March 28. The charges list seven offenses involving injury to animals and/or health risks to humans. The university laboratories house about 15,000 animals.

Franklin Circuit Judge Roger L. Crittenden in early April ruled that Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Billy Ray Smith has no duty to compel counties to obey 1955 laws requiring them to certify rabies vaccination, license dogs, and use the fees to maintain a dog pound. Crittenden also held that In Defense of Animals, the Animal Protection Institute, the Trixie Foundation, and numerous individual plaintiffs must separately sue each county magistrate and judge executive in his/her own county. The case was filed in July 2000 against Smith, 326 county magistrates, and 70 judge executives. Kentucky has an estimated dog licensing rate of about 11%– and about half of the counties have no animal shelter of any kind.

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