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Animal Legal Defense Fund, Inc. v. Glickman

Citation: 28 ELR 20395
No. 97-5009, 130 F.3d 464/(D.C. Cir., 12/09/1997)

The court holds that an animal welfare group and three individuals lack standing to challenge a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulation that allows exhibitors of captive primates to develop independent primate psychological enhancement plans. The individuals claimed that they suffered aesthetic and recreational injuries from observing mistreated primates in captivity, and the group claimed that they suffered a procedural rights injury from the USDA's failure to abide by notice-and-comment procedures. The court first holds that the individual plaintiffs-appellees did not meet their burden of demonstrating a cognizable injury-in-fact. General emotional harm cannot suffice as injury-in-fact for standing purposes. Even assuming the individuals did suffer sufficient injury, the court holds that they still lack standing because their claimed injuries are not fairly traceable to the USDA's alleged failure to promulgate minimum requirements under the AWA. The zoos at which the primates were housed acted independently; no laws or regulations compelled them to keep the primates in the conditions witnessed by the individuals. Further, the court holds that the individuals' injuries are not likely to be redressed by compelling the USDA to promulgate new regulations.

The court next holds that the animal welfare group lacks standing to challenge the USDA's failure to comply with the notice-and-comment procedures of the Administrative Procedure Act. The group failed to establish that it has suffered a concrete injury as distinguished from the abstract procedural right to submit comments to the USDA. Thus, the group's injury amounts to no more than a general interest common to all members of the public.

A dissenting judge would hold that one of the individual's affidavit is more than sufficient to meet the constitutional and prudential requirements of standing in this case.

Counsel for Appellees
Katherine A. Meyer
Meyer & Glitzenstein
1601 Connecticut Ave. NW, Ste. 450, Washington DC 20009
(202) 588-5206

Counsel for Appellants
John S. Koppel
Environment and Natural Resources Division
U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 514-2000

Before Wald and Henderson, JJ.