PETA Statement: Proposed USDA Rule on ‘Rubber-Stamping’ Violators’ Licenses

For Immediate Release:
March 21, 2019

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382

Washington – Please see the following statement from PETA Foundation Vice President Delcianna Winders in response to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed rule that would end automatically renewing (or “rubber-stamping”) licenses for exhibitors in chronic violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA):

More than a quarter century after the USDA’s own Office of Inspector General raised concerns about the USDA’s outrageous policy of automatically renewing Animal Welfare Act licenses for even the worst violators, six and a half years after PETA filed the first in a series of lawsuits challenging “rubber-stamping” of chronic abusers, and months after a leading law review journal published my article condemning the practice, the USDA has announced a proposed rule to end automatic license renewal. PETA applauds this long overdue—and legally required—step.

However, PETA is also alarmed that the USDA has included in its proposal a provision entitling every person whose license application is denied the right to request a lengthy, trial-type hearing. The law is clear that no such hearing is required, and doing so will only serve to delay justice and extend animal suffering.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment,” and more information about our work to help animals is available at

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind