An intermediate appellate court in Washington has affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging part of a state law requiring the humane slaughter of livestock. Pasado’s Safe Haven v. Washington, No. 64452-1-I (Wash. Ct. App., decided July 25, 2011). The plaintiff, an animal rights advocacy organization, challenged that part of the statute which included within the “humane method” definition “a method in accordance with the ritual requirements of any religious faith whereby the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain…” Also challenged was a provision stating that “Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit, abridge, or in any way hinder the religious freedom of any person or group.”

The court ruled that the plaintiff had not presented a justiciable claim because the court could not strike just part of the statute without bringing “about a result that our legislature ‘never contemplated nor intended to accomplish.’” According to the court, striking one of just two methods allowed for the slaughter of livestock “would fundamentally alter the statute’s meaning.” The plaintiff did not ask for the entire statute to be stricken, thus, the court determined that “regardless of our resolution of the merits of the various challenges made, at the end of this case the status quo would necessarily prevail. Our opinion would be nothing more than an advisory one.”