Rep. Brendan Boyle Blasts Feds’ Delay in Investigating Animal Dealers

Cases Drag On After PETA Provided Evidence of Scores of Animal-Welfare Violations

For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2017

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) is going public with his correspondence (available here and here) with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) concerning the agency’s months-long delays in closing cases against a Florida monkey dealer and a Pennsylvania small-animal dealer, at whose facilities PETA stings uncovered egregious animal-welfare violations.

As of today, the Florida case has now remained open for 772 days and the Pennsylvania case has remained open for 572 days, leaving animals in danger, as systemic problems potentially continue. The USDA replied that the cases were still “undergoing internal Agency review” and that it currently takes an average of 363 days to close a case—11 percent longer than in 2014. The average animal-protection case takes even longer: 499 days.

Meanwhile, in the time that the USDA has sat on the Florida case, PETA’s investigations division has closed more than 23 investigations, secured the filing of 519 criminal charges and the convictions of 45 defendants, and worked with law enforcement to seize nearly 200 animals.

Boyle’s statement reads, in part:

This spring, I reached out to the USDA on behalf of some constituents who are disturbed by cases of animal abuse and neglect in Pennsylvania and around the country. Many such cases involve confirmed violations of our most basic standards for animal welfare—yet the USDA’s investigations of these violent practices were delayed for months or even years. I was extremely troubled to learn from USDA that there is a backlog of nearly 500 open, uninvestigated cases of animal-welfare violations and that the average time it takes to close such a case is 499 days. I remain committed to addressing this backlog and lack of timely, effective enforcement of federal law.

At Florida monkey dealer Primate Products, Inc., PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on or abuse in any other way”—revealed that sick and injured monkeys were sometimes denied adequate veterinary care. Workers crudely shoved protruding rectal tissue back into monkeys’ bodies and grabbed the animals by their tails, which can cause irreversible nerve pain. USDA inspectors found 25 violations of nine animal-welfare regulations. PETA’s investigation at Pennsylvania pet-trade supplier Holmes Farm documented that animals were frozen alive and gassed by the dozens. USDA inspectors found at least 117 violations of 14 federal regulations.

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