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JONES v. BUTZ

April 19, 1974

Helen E. JONES as next friend and guardian for all livestock animals now and hereafter awaiting slaughter in the United States, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Earl S. BUTZ, as Secretary of Agriculture of the United States of America, et al., Defendants


Palmieri, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PALMIERI

PALMIERI, District Judge.

This action involves a challenge, under the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment, *fn1" to the Humane Slaughter Act (the Act), 7 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq. (1970), *fn2" and in particular to the provisions relating to ritual slaughter as defined in the Act and which plaintiff suggest involve the Government in the dietary preferences of a particular religious group.

 The plaintiffs consist of a group of six individuals and three organizations hereinafter described. They seek injunctive relieve as well as a declaration that the questioned statutory provisions are violative of the Constitution. Plaintiffs' application for the convening of a three-judge court, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2282, 2284, was granted by Judge Bonsal on October 25, 1973. The three-judge court was convened and a hearing held on February 11, 1974.

 Jurisdiction is alleged under 5 U.S.C. §§ 702 and 703 and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343, 1361, 2201, and 2202. The complaint alleges that the amount in controversy exceeds $10,000.

 The parties have made cross-motions for summary judgment. Rules 12(c) and 56, Fed. R. Civ. P. Additionally, the defendants have moved for an order dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Rules 12(b) (1) and 12(b) (6), Fed. R. Civ. P.

 The Statutory Provisions Involved

 Section 1 of the Act (7 U.S.C. § 1901) declares it to be the policy of the United States "that the slaughtering of livestock and the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter shall be carried out only by humane methods." And section 3 provides:

 
"The public policy declared in this chapter shall be taken into consideration by all agencies of the Federal Government in connection with all procurement and price support programs and operations and after June 30, 1960, no agency or instrumentality of the United States shall contract for or procure any livestock products produced or processed by any slaughterer or processor which in any of its plants or in any plants of any slaughterer or processor with which it is affiliated slaughters or handles in connection with slaughter livestock by any methods other than methods designated and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture. . . ." 7 U.S.C. § 1903.

 The plaintiffs' challenge to the Act is directed to sections 2(b), 5, and 6 (7 U.S.C. §§ 1902(b), 1905, and 1906). Section 2 provides:

 
"§ 1902. Humane methods
 
No method of slaughtering or handling in connection with slaughtering shall be deemed to comply with the public policy of the United States unless it is humane. Either of the following two methods of slaughtering and handling are hereby found to be humane:
 
(a) in the case of cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, and other livestock, all animals are rendered insensible to pain by a single blow or gunshot or an electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut; or
 
(b) by slaughtering in accordance with the ritual requirements of the Jewish faith or any other religious faith that prescribes a method of slaughter whereby the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries with a sharp instrument."
 
Section 4(c) provides:
 
"Handling in connection with such slaughtering which necessarily accompanies the method of slaughter described in subsection (b) of this section shall be deemed to comply with the public policy specified by this section." *fn3"

 Section 5 of the Act provides for the establishment of an advisory committee to assist in implementing the Act's provisions, with one of the members of the advisory committee being a "person familiar with the requirements of religious faiths ...


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