Seeking additional input before ruling on a certiorari petition, the U.S. Supreme Court has asked the acting solicitor general to provide the U.S. government’s view of a challenge to a California law that prohibits slaughterhouses from receiving, processing or selling nonambulatory animals and prohibits dragging or pushing downer animals. Nat’l Meat Ass’n v. Harris, No. 10-224 (U.S., request filed January 18, 2011). The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the state to enforce the law, finding that it is not preempted by the Federal Meat Inspection Act. Additional details about the Ninth Circuit’s ruling appear in Issue 344 of this Update.

California adopted the law after The Humane Society’s video of the mistreatment of downer cattle at a slaughterhouse became public and led to a massive beef recall in 2008.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.