American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals v. US Department of Agriculture


Cooley advised the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on its lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture.


The lawsuit claims the USDA is refusing to release critical animal welfare records requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

The lawsuit highlights that thousands of documents relating to the inspection of facilities licensed under the Animal Welfare Act, including zoos and commercial dog breeders, were removed from the USDA website in early 2017. After the USDA publicly asserted that the documents were still obtainable through the FOIA process, record requests made by the ASPCA revealed the USDA continued to suppress critical inspection and enforcement information. Citing privacy concerns, the USDA claims the requested records are exempt from disclosure. The records that the agency has released have been heavily redacted.

Cooley advised with a team including Bonnie Weiss McLeod (Picture), Erin Estevez and Scott Stemetzki.

Involved fees earner: Bonnie Weiss McLeod – Cooley LLP; Erin Estevez – Cooley LLP; Scott Stemetzki – Cooley LLP;

Law Firms: Cooley LLP;

Clients: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti