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Animal Legal Defense Fund v. U.S. Department of Agriculture

Owners and operators of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), also known as factory farms, receive funding from U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under the National Environmental Policy Act, USDA is required to prepare analyses of the environmental impact of the operations it funds. Nonprofit groups, advocacy organizations, reporters, and members of the public often request these environmental review records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to obtain information about federally funded CAFOs impacting the community and to participate in the environmental review process.

FOIA requires agencies to post frequently requested records online. Represented by Public Citizen Litigation Group, Animal Legal Defense Fund and Food & Water Watch sued USDA under FOIA, seeking to compel USDA to proactively post the environmental review records. The lawsuit, filed in May 2024, also seeks to compel USDA to respond to Animal Legal Defense Fund’s individual FOIA request for records.