Animal Law Litigation Clinic Cases

On the Docket

The ALLC’s first lawsuit—Farm Sanctuary v. USDA—challenges pig slaughter deregulation. The removal of line speed limits and reduction of inspector oversight at slaughterhouses exponentially increases animal suffering. Previously, slaughterhouses could kill up to 1,106 pigs per hour. Now there is no limit whatsoever, resulting in increased food safety and humane handling violations. The removal of inspectors from the front lines compounds the problem, as they are replaced by untrained slaughterhouse staff, thereby reducing the likelihood that cruelty will be detected. In addition, the USDA estimates that 11.5 million more pigs per year will be slaughtered under its deregulation. 


The ALLC’s second lawsuit—Farm Sanctuary v. Vilsack—challenges the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s failure to properly protect downed pigs—pigs who are too injured or sick to stand or walk. According to industry estimates, more than 500,000 downed pigs arrive at U.S. slaughterhouses annually. Allowing downed animals to be slaughtered for human consumption incentivizes subjecting sick and injured animals to inhumane transport and handling, including shocking, prodding, kicking, and dragging. The USDA’s failure to regulate downed pigs is long-standing and defiant

Media Coverage and More

  • Food Safety News published a Letter to the Editor authored by ALLC student and Animal Law LLM Candidate (’21) Jessica Chapman entitled “Industry Supporter Out of Line on Line Speeds” (November 17, 2020)
  • Our media release entitled “Inspector Files Sworn Statement in Support of Legal Challenge to Pig Slaughter Deregulation” (April 16, 2020)
  • The Washington Post broke the news of the ALLC’s second lawsuit in an article entitled “Downed pigs are turned into product: a new lawsuit seeks to stop that.” (February 6, 2020)
  • Our media release regarding the filing of the ALLC’s second lawsuit against the USDA (February 6, 2020)
  • Our media release regarding the filing of ALLC’s first lawsuit against the USDA (December 18, 2019)
  • Our media release announcing the launch of the ALLC (May 2, 2019)