Volume 25, Issue 2 (2019)


Megan E. Boyd, Georgia Aquarium v. Pritzker: The Beginning of the End for Belugas in Captivity in the United States

Beluga whales have been displayed in aquariums and zoos for decades, but the end of captive beluga displays in the United States is near, thanks to Georgia Aquarium v. Pritzker. In 2012, the Georgia Aquarium, on behalf of members of the beluga cooperative breeding program, applied to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for a special permit allowing the breeding cooperative to import eighteen beluga whales from Russia. After NMFS denied the permit, the Aquarium brought suit, arguing that NMFS’s denial was arbitrary and capricious and that without an influx of belugas, the United States captive beluga whale breeding program could not remain stable. The court ruled against the Aquarium. This Article first discusses the current state of the worldwide beluga population and issues with captive beluga breeding. The Article next discusses the Georgia Aquarium case in depth and its staggering implications. Although this Article argues for the immediate end of captive beluga displays, it predicts that without the ability to import wild-caught beluga whales, the United States’ captive breeding program almost certainly will not survive. The Article argues that by 2050, U.S. beluga displays will be a thing of the past.


Max Birmingham, Paid in Full: Interpreting and Defining “Market Value” Under the Lacey Act

There is a circuit split on the definition of “market value” under the Lacey Act. Courts disagree whether the price of hunting guide services should be factored into calculating the market value of the wildlife hunted. But the purpose of the Lacey Act suggests a broad interpretation of market value which includes guide services. This Article proposes amending the Lacey Act to make clear the definition of market value in keeping with its original purpose.



Delcianna Winders, The Animal Welfare Act at Fifty Conference at Harvard Law School Introduction

Delcianna Winders introduces the Animal Welfare Act at Fifty Conference.


Cathy Liss, Kimberly Ockene, Naomi A. Rose, Georgia Hancock Snusz & Anna Frostic, Animal Welfare Act: Welfare Standards

Cathy Liss discusses the changes to the standards after the 1985 Improved Standards for Laboratory Animals amendment to the AWA and the emphasis of performance standards that were implemented. Kimberly Ockene discusses the AWA regulations for commercial dog breeders and a petition for rulemaking that seeks to enhance these regulations. Naomi Rose and Georgia Hancock discuss captive marine mammals and their coverage under the AWA. Lastly, Anna Frostic speaks about public handling of exotic animals held at licensed exhibitors, which are regulated under the Act.


Ani B. Satz & Delcianna Winders, Animal Welfare Act: Interaction with Other Laws

Ani B. Satz discusses the interaction of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) with state laws, specifically focusing on perceived preemptive effects of the AWA on state anti-cruelty laws. Delcianna Winders discusses how these perceived preemptive effects play out on a federal level, focusing on how the AWA interacts with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). She expands upon how both laws apply to captive animals, who have been identified as threatened or endangered under the ESA.


Michael McFadden, Sue Leary & Kathy Hessler, Animal Welfare Act: Excluded Animals

Michael McFadden discusses the Animal Welfare Act’s exclusion of farmed animals and possible reasons for their exclusion. He then briefly discusses welfare problems faced by farmed animals. He ends by describing the various ways in which consumers are showing increasing concern for farmed animals and how consumers, especially millennial consumers, are poised to force the agricultural industry to improve conditions for farmed animals. Sue Leary recounts the history of efforts to include rats, mice, and birds, in the AWA. Next, she explains the historical and contemporary issues with including common laboratory research animals under animal protection laws. She ends her discussion with an analysis of the polarized scientific and political views on this issue. Kathy Hessler begins by discussing how the AWA ignores aquatic animals. She then explains that although marine mammals are offered some protection, there are no protections for the growing number of other aquatic animals used in research, exhibition, and in the pet industry. Her discussion ends with proposals for solutions to this problem and analysis of the political barriers to those solutions.


Joyce Tischler, Valerie Stanley, Jenni James & Kathy Meyer, Animal Welfare Act: Related Litigation and Other Efforts

Joyce Tischler discusses the background of the Animal Welfare Act from the 1971 definitional change of the term “animal” to the 1985 Amendment for improved standards. Her organization, Animal Legal Defense Fund, was the first to litigate the AWA’s terms and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s regulations. Valerie Stanley expands upon the 1985 Amendment’s requirements regarding primates and the regulatory struggles Animal Legal Defense Fund faced therein. Jenni James discusses Article III standing and the difficulties in getting into court due to a general reluctance to recognize plaintiffs as satisfying standing under the AWA. She also discusses the courts preference to give agencies deference and the subsequent consequences that imposes on the regulatory scheme. Katherine Meyer discusses the effects of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s tendency to not aggressively enforce the Animal Welfare Act and the necessity of adding a citizen suit provision to the Act.


Delcianna Winders & Varu Chilakamarri, Animal Welfare Act: Enforcement

Delcianna Winders discusses the Animal Welfare Act and how the United States Department of Agriculture enforces it. She also provides a critique of the USDA’s enforcement of the AWA, with particular attention to its heavy reliance on warnings and discounted penalties, which in many cases fail to deter regulated entities from violating the AWA.

Varu Chilakamarri discusses how animal welfare issues are incorporated into the work of the Department of Justice (DOJ). She provides an overview of the AWA, noting the specific sections that provide for federal court review. Chilakamarri also discusses some of the programmatic steps the DOJ has taken within the past few years to make animal welfare a larger priority.



Danielle Maddox Kinchen, It Takes a Village to Protect its Pets: How to Empower Local Community Organizations in the Fight for Companion Animal Rights

This Note aims to provide a guide for state law reforms to ease the responsibility on southern states’ shelter, rescue, and foster systems. It employs a three-pronged strategy to address two main challenges for homeless companion animals—overpopulation and unprosecuted animal cruelty. The United States euthanizes an estimated 1.5 million companion animals annually in its companion animal shelters, largely due to overpopulation, and the South plays an exponentially larger role in this statistic than the North, with some southern cities annually euthanizing hundreds of thousands of companion animals each. Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters each year, and in addition to facing the possibility of euthanasia in their future, a large fraction of those companion animals have been subject to abuse before their arrival. Lack of funds to support homeless companion animals, however, has left overpopulation and animal abuse largely unaddressed. Animal abusers responsible for homeless companion animals’ suffering frequently escape arrest and prosecution for these crimes.

To address these challenges, legislators should employ a comprehensive approach to state animal law reform to avoid the unpopular decision to raise taxes on pet owners. First, states should heighten state breeding fees and penalties to help shrink the future homeless companion animal population. Second, states should establish a private civil action for shelters to hold animal abusers accountable and collect money forfeitures of any profits abusers gained through their cruelty to animals. Third, funds collected from breeding fees, penalties, and civil action forfeitures should finance greater enforcement of breeder regulations. Surplus revenue should then finance any combination of the following: a state spay and neuter program, a homeless companion animal transport program, or a state animal abuser registry. By executing all three prongs concurrently, legislators can provide sustainable support to their state’s overwhelmed shelter, rescue, and foster system without inflicting a general tax on pet owners.