A federal court in Washington, D.C. recently tossed a lawsuit brought by the animal rights group, Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) challenging poultry products labels that had been approved by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The court determined that ALDF had no standing to sue. ALDF v. Vilsack, No. 1-21-cv-01539 (CJN) (D.D.C. Nov. 14, 2022).
The labels in question — on chicken and turkey products produced by a vertically integrated poultry-production company — portrayed cartoon chickens and turkeys outside in fields. ALDF opposed FSIS’s approval of such labels under the Poultry Products Inspection Act as “misleading” because they supposedly would lead a consumer to conclude that the fowl had access to a barnyard or pasture when they were, in fact, raised indoors — even though the labels themselves said nothing about where the birds were raised.
The district court determined that ALDF had no standing to sue, whether based upon injuries claimed by ALDF itself (organizational standing) or based upon injuries claimed by an ALDF member (associational standing).
On the organizational standing point, ALDF argued that FSIS’s label approval impaired ALDF’s consumer education services and its other mission-driven activities in which ALDF alleged that it educates consumers about how animals are raised for food.