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National Meat Ass'n v. Brown

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20100
Nos. No. 09-15483, (9th Cir., 03/31/2010)

The Ninth Circuit vacated a lower court decision that granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of California Penal Code §599f, which bans the slaughter and inhumane handling of nonambulatory animals, against federally regulated swine slaughterhouses. Plaintiff, a trade association representing packers and processors of swine livestock and products, argued, among other things, that §599f was preempted by the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA). The court held that plaintiff was unlikely to succeed on its preemption claim: FMIA establishes inspection procedures to ensure animals that are slaughtered are safe for human consumption, but this does not preclude states from banning the slaughter of certain kinds of animals altogether. In addition, it is not physically impossible to comply with both §599f and the FMIA nor does §599f serve as an obstacle to the FMIA. As to §599’s humane handling requirements, plaintiff is likely to succeed on its preemption claim, but it has not shown a likelihood of irreparable injury or that the balance of the equities or public interest tip in its favor for this provision.