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Federal Court Enjoins California Non-Ambulatory Livestock Statute

Friday, February 20, 2009

(American Meat Institute)

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California late yesterday issued a preliminary injunction finding that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) preempts a California law that intrudes into government regulations applied at federally inspected meat packing establishments.  U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence O’Neill ruled that a California law that requires all nonambulatory livestock to be immediately euthanized is explicitly preempted by the FMIA because it is different than and in addition to the federal law and usurps the authority of federal veterinarians and inspectors.  

The issuance of the preliminary injunction is a first step.  The plaintiffs, AMI and the National Meat Association, will now seek a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment that the state law is preempted as it pertains to swine and other species that the Food Safety and Inspection Service allows to be processed even if nonambulatory.  Whether the State of California will appeal this district court ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is unknown at this time. 

 To read the court’s opinion click here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/46617


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