PETA Will File Complaint in Light of Documented Decline in Enforcement of Federal Animal Welfare Act and Other Misdeeds
For Immediate Release:
April 18, 2019
Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382
Washington – This morning, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced revisions to its website, where records related to enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Animal Care Impact Report are posted, revealing a sharp decline in its enforcement of the AWA and its unabashed commitment to its “customers”—which it identifies as the puppy mills, roadside zoos, laboratories, and other animal-exploiting operations that it’s tasked with regulating.
For more than 8,500 of these facilities, the USDA issued only 44 warnings and entered only seven settlement agreements in FY 2018. There were more than three times as many AWA enforcement actions in FY 2017 and more than four times as many in FY 2016—and in years with even higher numbers of actions, the USDA’s own Office of Inspector General condemned AWA enforcement as inadequate. The USDA also states in its report that its “goal is to be the most effective and most customer-focused department in the Federal government”—not to protect animals or enforce the AWA.
“By considering itself nothing more than a customer-service agency for animal exploiters, the USDA has completely turned its back on the animals it’s statutorily mandated to protect,” says PETA Foundation Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is filing a complaint with the USDA’s Office of Inspector General and is exploring litigation avenues for the harm that the USDA is doing to animals.”
The USDA’s report also touts dozens of outreach meetings with its “customers,” but in FY 2018, the agency had just one outreach meeting with the animal-protection community—a meeting at which the community was prohibited from asking any questions. And while the report asserts, “We expect and require complete honesty and integrity in all we do,” records obtained by PETA show that the USDA is posting online inspection reports that assert “no non-compliant items identified during this inspection” while simultaneously documenting violations (“non-compliant items”) on forms that are kept secret from the public.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.