Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) – finalized a new rule to address its harmful, longstanding practice of "rubber-stamping" licenses for certain animal operations, which has allowed facilities like puppy mills and roadside zoos that violate the law to stay in business with little to no oversight.
Unfortunately, this new rule fails to enact meaningful changes that stops businesses that profit from animal exploitation.
For example, already-licensed facilities are not required to demonstrate AWA compliance when applying for a license renewal. And even when a USDA inspector finds a violation – including animals in need of veterinary care, cages that are too small, or a lack of clean water or food – the agency most often chooses to take no action at all. Breeders with a long list of egregious violations remain licensed year after year.
According to the Washington Post, there has been a 65% decrease in citations and a 92% decline in enforcement cases at the USDA since 2016. A USDA veterinarian told the Post the weakened enforcement had caused an "untold numbers of animals" to experience unnecessary suffering.
The USDA's lack of proper protections and enforcement continues to perpetuate heinous, illegal animal abuses. Sign the petition today to urge the USDA to create more robust protections and enforcement policies for exploited animals.