USDA: Stop Protecting Animal Abusers and Enforce the Law!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—which is responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the only federal law that explicitly protects animals used for entertainment—has consistently failed to take appropriate enforcement action, even against the most egregious animal abusers. The USDA’s own recent records reveal that the agency is taking weaker, less frequent action against AWA violators. We need you to urge Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to ensure that the USDA starts taking meaningful enforcement action that protects animals and not their abusers!
The USDA’s “enforcement” is nearly meaningless and dwindling, as illustrated by recently released statistics that reveal that while 77 cases against alleged AWA violators were closed by the Office of General Counsel (OGC) in 2012, only 16 cases have been closed through mid-2013. And the average age of the pitiful 16 cases closed this year is a whopping 1,422 days—that’s nearly four years of likely continued animal suffering while the OGC decided between mostly ineffective dispositions.
According to the audit reports by the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, when the USDA fines AWA violators, the penalties are often so low that violators prefer to simply “budget” for them rather than changing their behavior—which means that animals continue to suffer as a result.
Please e-mail Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack at firstname.lastname@example.org now and tell him that that he must act to ensure that the USDA takes meaningful enforcement action that deters AWA violations, rather than coddling abusive exhibitors who consider animals’ pain and suffering a mere “cost of business.”
Be sure to forward this important information to your compassionate family and friends!
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