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For suffering animals, a new audit of the USDA can’t happen soon enough

The ongoing lack of transparency combined with weak enforcement of the minimal standards of care required under the AWA is a tragedy for the long-suffering animals in commercial breeding facilities.

Editor The ARK Center


MATT BERSHADKER:
‘It’s critical to ensure our federal agencies are carrying out their missions and upholding the law. Verifying the effectiveness of the USDA – the federal agency responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) – is the job of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General (USDA OIG). This month, the OIG acted appropriately and admirably when it included in its 2019 Annual Plan a much-needed audit of how the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inadequately oversees commercial dog breeders. The current system simply allows too many breeders to provide substandard care without any consequences or corrective action…

This action was long overdue. Despite a scathing 2010 OIG report detailing “major deficiencies” in APHIS’s enforcement of AWA standards for commercial breeders, the agency’s effectiveness and accountability have only declined in the last eight years. According to the agency’s own reports, enforcement this year alone plummeted. This comes just under two years after the USDA purged its breeder inspection database of critical information, hiding their documentation of puppy mill cruelty from consumers, advocates, and the general public…

The ongoing lack of transparency combined with weak enforcement of the minimal standards of care required under the AWA is a tragedy for the long-suffering animals in commercial breeding facilities… Since the law’s enactment over 50 years ago, those standards have too often fallen short of their promise to adequately protect vulnerable animals. The public has a strong interest in ensuring that government agencies represent their values when enforcing the law, and compassion for animals in need is one of our most deeply-held and widespread values’. SOURCE…

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