Supreme Court affirms HFA Rosebud win
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2003–
WASHINGTON D.C.–The U.S. Supreme Court on February 24 handed
the Humane Farming Association a hard-won victory over factory hog
farming on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, declining
to review an April 2002 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals verdict
that Bell Farms and Sun Prairie Inc. had no legal standing to seek a
1999 injunction that allowed them to build and run the first two of
13 planned hog facilities.
“We can now plan an orderly shutdown,” attorney Jim
Dougherty told Associated Press. Dougherty represents HFA, the
Concerned Rosebud Area Citizens, and other hog farm opponents.
But the first two facilities, producing 48,000 hogs per
year, are likely to stay open pending resolution of a second
lawsuit, filed by Sun Prairie in mid-2002. Sun Prairie seeks
damages from federal and tribal agencies for alleged unconstitutional
interference in the affairs of the investors. Sun Prairie claims to
have borrowed $45 million to start the project, which was to have
expanded up to 288 barns, producing nearly 900,000 hogs per year.
“The proposed project was scheduled to be the third largest
hog factory farm in the world, producing roughly three times the
amount of raw sewage produced by the entire human population of South
Dakota,” HFA chief investigator Gail Eisnitz told ANIMAL PEOPLE.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribal Coun-cil and the Bureau of Indian
Affairs authorized Bell Farms and Sun Prairie to build on tribal land
in 1998, but the deal was vetoed in January 1999 by then-assistant
secretary for Indian affairs Kevin Gover.
“Most of the tribe had been kept in the dark about the Bell
Farms venture and the downsides of factory farming,” recalled
Eisnitz. “We did everything we could to educate the tribe about the
horrendous cruelty, environmental hazards, and terrible working
conditions on factory farms. Eventually the tribe kicked their
tribal council out of office, voted in a new tribal council who
opposed the hog factory, and legally realigned themselves with HFA,”