Thursday, May 28, 2015

Court Orders Advance Remedies Against Big Tobacco

The D.C. Circuit and the district court have issued new rulings that will require the largest cigarette companies to finally issue “corrective statements” disclosing the truth about their products, including forcing the companies to place television and newspaper ads informing the American public that they “intentionally designed cigarettes to make them more addictive.”   The D.C. Circuit ruling rejected the companies’ arguments that they cannot be required to disclose their manipulation of nicotine, and remanded the issue to the district court to reconsider the preambles that will introduce the corrective statements.  The district court ruling rejected R.J. Reynolds’ (RJR) argument that it should not be required to run a television ad as the successor to Brown and Williamson, which was a defendant in the suit but was acquired by RJR.    
Together these rulings further advance the remedies our clients – the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Americans For Nonsmokers’ Rights, the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network, and Tobacco-Free Kids Action Fund – have sought since they intervened in this long-running consumer fraud suit in 2006.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

USDA Publishes And Requests Public Comment On Rulemaking Petition For Better Standards To Protect Primates Used In Research

Today, the USDA published in the Federal Register for public comment a petition we filed last year on behalf of several clients, seeking stronger mandatory standards for the psychological well-being of primates used in research. The Petition, which can be found here, was filed on behalf of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance, the Laboratory Primate Advocacy Group, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. It asked the USDA to adopt as standards under the Animal Welfare Act the recommendations recently accepted by the National Institute of Medicine for "ecologically appropriate environments" for chimpanzees used in federally-funded research, and to apply those standards to all non-human primates used in all research.  The AWA was amended in 1985 to require the USDA to issue "minimum standards" for a "physical environment adequate to promote the psychological well-being of primates."  Since then, the USDA has failed to promulgate effective standards requiring primates to be housed socially and to be provided basic environmental enrichment -- the agency’s own enforcement personnel have complained that the current standards are weak and unenforceable.  The Petition requests that the agency adopt new standards, based on scientific evidence and expertise from the world’s leading primate experts, that would require all research facilities to provide for the psychological well-being of primates by requiring them to be housed in social groups, and providing them various forms of additional environmental enhancement, including access to outdoors, and opportunities for choice and self-determination – all vital to primates’ psychological well-being.  The Petition has been given the Docket No. APHIS - 2014-0098-1, and the USDA will receive public comment until June 30, 2015.