The U.S. Department of Agriculture has abandoned a disastrous proposal to outsource inspections of puppy mills, roadside zoos and research laboratories to third-party inspectors. If implemented, the proposal would have essentially allowed these industries to police themselves and severely undermined protections for millions of animals.
Many members of Congress weighed in strongly against the proposal, including a bipartisan set of 77 lawmakers led by Reps. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., who wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue opposing the agency’s plan. Our supporters were also highly engaged. Tens of thousands of you responded to our action alert, and many of you even testified before the USDA, letting the agency know that you do not approve of letting industry groups perform federal animal welfare inspections or determine which facilities warrant federal oversight.
Now that the USDA has taken this important step to preserve the integrity of the Animal Welfare Act, we urge the agency to do the same on transparency for the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act. The agency should fully restore the thousands of inspection reports and other enforcement documents purged from its website last year, as the public has demanded and Congress has directed. And it should abandon the industry self-policing that has been an utter failure for horse soring — by publishing its final rule to update the agency’s regulations under the Horse Protection Act, as the USDA announced it would do in January 2017.
Thank you for speaking out and let’s keep the pressure on; there’s more work to be done.