OTA Asks Court to Delay Animal Welfare Suit Against USDA

The Organic Trade Association requested the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to issue a stay of proceedings. The Hagstrom Report says that means they’re calling for a halt to further legal processing in its animal welfare lawsuit against the USDA until President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

The lawsuit was filed by OTA in 2017 because of the Trump Administration’s blockage and eventual withdrawal of the final Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule. OTA says an odd quirk in the briefing schedule means the suit spans two administrations.

Laura Batcha, OTA Executive Director, says, “We see little benefit to the court in having piecemeal briefings with arguments from two very different administrations. Common sense and fair play require the matter to be placed wholly within the new administration’s hands.”

Batcha said the case includes claims of misconduct under the Trump administration that the Biden administration won’t want to defend against. ‘When it all comes down to it, the case will be resolved when Biden takes office,” she says, “and the court shouldn’t be burdened with arguments from a departing administration.”

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