PHILADELPHIA (Legal Newsline) – Two animal advocacy organizations are seeking to compel a federal agency to propose rules that govern the handling, care and treatment of birds.

The American Anti-Vivisection Society and Avian Welfare Coalition filed a complaint on April 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against United States Department of Agriculture and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue citing the Animal Welfare Act and Administrative Procedure Act.

According to the complaint, Congress amended the Animal Welfare Act's definition of animal "to leave no doubt that it applies to birds not bred for research." In 2000, the suit states the USDA agreed to initiate and complete a rulemaking regarding birds not bred for research "within a reasonable time." The plaintiffs allege the USDA "has never promulgated any regulations to protect birds," the suit states.

"Because of the facilities that would otherwise be covered by the AWA are not being inspected or licensed by the agency, birds that would otherwise be covered by the AWA are living in situations with absolutely no regulatory oversight," the suit states.

The plaintiffs seek a declaration that the USDA's failure to promulgate regulations violates the AWA, compel the defendant to publish for comment proposed rules by a court-ordered deadline, award for attorneys' fees, expenses, costs of suit, interest as permitted by law, and such other and further relief as the court may deem just and proper. It is represented by Rebecca Glenn-Dinwoodie of Glenn-Dinwoodie Law in Ambler, Pennsylvania.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number 2:18-cv-01753-PD

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