October 23, 2023Clinic Files Reply Brief in USDA Inspection Policy Case

Case Update: October 20, 2023

On Friday, October 20th, the Harvard Law School Animal Law & Policy Clinic filed a response brief in their case challenging the USDA’s secret implementation of a new “focused” inspection policy. The policy mandates that inspectors forgo full routine inspections at research facilities accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care, and instead requires that inspectors only look at one limited aspect of the facility – the paperwork, the facility itself, or the animals. The Clinic represents Plaintiffs Rise for Animals and Animal Legal Defense Fund, who contend that the new policy is unlawful.

In their responsive brief, Plaintiffs respond to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) argument that the focused inspection policy is necessary due to the agency’s “limited resources.” The brief demonstrates that such a plea is completely undermined by the facts of the case, which show that, in the same year the agency instituted the policy, the USDA actually asked Congress for less funding for their inspection program. The brief goes on to further explain why the focused inspection policy contravenes the USDA’s statutory mandate and, thus, should be overturned.

Clinic students Magdalene Beck and Jonathan Smith worked on the brief with Rebecca Garverman and Katherine Meyer