PETA Statement: Spending Bill Tackles USDA Secrecy

For Immediate Release:
June 5, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Washington – Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee released its report on 2020’s agriculture spending bill, which takes the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to task for its use of so-called “teachable moments” that have replaced enforcement even in egregious cases of abuse.  The agency has been failing to cite animal exhibitors, laboratories, and other animal facilities for certain violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, which should appear on publicly available inspection reports, and instead has been secretly documenting the violations in separate internal records.

The House Appropriations Committee has directed the USDA to “immediately require all its inspectors to cite every observed violation” at every visit to a regulated facility. Its accompanying spending bill instructs the agency to restore to its website unredacted inspection reports and enforcement actions related to laboratories, roadside zoos, traveling animal shows, puppy mills, and other enterprises that use and exploit animals. The USDA is legally required to post these records, but it removed them from its website abruptly in 2017 and currently makes them available only with identifying information for most facilities blacked out.

Below, please find a statement from PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo regarding the report:

This bipartisan committee has sent a clear message that the USDA’s duty is to protect animals, not the experimenters, roadside zoos, circuses, and puppy mills that exploit them. So-called “teachable moments” are thinly veiled attempts to shield violators from public scrutiny and should never have been allowed. PETA will continue to push the USDA to end the secrecy so that the public can keep tabs on businesses that break the law—some of which are federally funded—and on the USDA itself.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview, and more information about our campaign against the USDA’s secrecy is available here.

For Media: Contact PETA's
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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