A series of undercover videos exposing inhumane conditions on factory farms has sprung up in recent years. In 2011, an activist working for Mercy for Animals filmed undercover at Sparboe Egg Farms, McDonald’s main egg supplier. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) documented disturbing acts of animal cruelty at a Bushway Packing slaughterhouse in Grand Isle, Vermont in 2009, and later at Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino, California. When leaked to the public, the footage obtained during these undercover investigations can have dramatic, tangible effects. As a result of Mercy for Animals’ investigation, Sparboe received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration and McDonald’s dropped the company as its supplier. As of November 13, 2013, the video had over 1,100,000 views on Youtube. Following HSUS’ investigation at Grand Isle, the state shut down the slaughterhouse and charged two former employees with animal cruelty. HSUS’ investigation in Chino led to the largest meat recall in history.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently introduced numerous regulations in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) enacted in 2011. The FDA’s most recent proposed regulation aims to regulate Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVPs), specifically those that import foodstuffs into the United States for human and animal consumption. In order to participate in import programs with the United States, foreign suppliers will have to comply with U.S. processes and risk-based preventive controls in order to better protect the public health. This is meant to work in conjunction with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).
This note revisits eminent domain jurisprudence as applied to a novel situation in Vermont: the taking of private property in Cornwall and Shoreham for the primary purpose of supplying natural gas to a corporate beneficiary across the lake in New York. In March of 2012, International Paper (IP) contacted Vermont Gas Systems to inquire whether Vermont Gas would consider constructing additional natural gas pipeline through western Vermont, under Lake Champlain, to IP’s mill in Ticonderoga, NY. Despite opposition among impacted property owners in Cornwall and Shoreham, this project is now moving forward as part of a larger natural gas pipeline expansion in Vermont’s Addison County. And should the Public Service Board approve the pipeline from VT to NY, Vermont Gas may have to acquire easements on private property through the power of eminent domain.