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August 18, 2014

Victory in Lawsuit Challenging Massive Minnesota Gestation Crate Pig Factory

The Minnesota Court of Appeals today sided with The Humane Society of the United States and neighbors of a massive new gestation crate pig factory, who challenged the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources decision to allow the facility to take up to eight million gallons of groundwater per year.

The facility, located in Todd County, Minn., is owned by Iowa-based Gourley Bros. LLC. 

Among other issues, neighbors pointed out that the state lacks sufficient information about the underground water source to know whether it can withstand the facility’s withdrawal of up to 18,000 gallons per day. DNR failed to explain why it granted the permit, despite concerns that the water appropriation could have devastating impacts to the environment. 

In today’s opinion, the court explained that DNR’s decision failed to include any findings about the impact of that withdrawal on the water supply and its neighbors, and granted the neighbors’ request to send the matter back to the agency for additional findings.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS, said “These pig factories can have ruinous effects on the environment, animals and neighbors. Today's decision shows that pig factories in Minnesota are not above the law.”

The petitioners are represented by Eckberg, Lammers, Briggs, Wolff & Vierling, PLLP and lawyers with the HSUS Animal Protection Litigation group. The HSUS is also represented pro bono by Shearman & Sterling LLP. The neighbors also received assistance from the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project.


Media Contact: Anna West: 301-258-1518; awest@humanesociety.org

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