If the USDA abandons the animals, who will protect them? This may be a reality soon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering something truly despicable. They are in essence planning to allow the criminals to police themselves. This includes puppy mills, research labs, and zoos.
The Scope of One’s Job Should Not be Altered Because It’s Difficult
Almost everyone can relate to having a job that was difficult at one point or another. As an adult, we realize that sometimes we must dig a little deeper and put forth a little more effort.
However, these same rules seem to not apply to the USDA. Animal welfare is the responsibility of the USDA. This by any standard is an enormous undertaking. The amount of effort to do this job effectively requires a tremendous amount of resources and the ability to manage said resources.
These are all things the USDA apparently no longer wishes to do. The overall climate of this situation appears to be by design. There seems to be an agenda that if we look closer, we may find the origins of politics.
Under the Best of Circumstances, Self-Policing Does Not Work
I understand that the USDA is a government agency and with that being said, politics is inherent. However, it should not be stirred by some political agenda. If that is the way it will be running, then they need to find a way to allow the animals affected by these decisions the right to vote.
If you were to research the history of the Animal Welfare Act, you would see that it spans more than 50 years.
In 1966, the U.S. Congress charged the USDA with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. This includes conducting inspections to ensure compliance by licensees and registered facilities.
These Decisions by the USDA Will Have a Profound Impact On All Animals
This is the way their system has operated for more than half of a century. They are required by federal law to regulate the entities that fall under their jurisdiction. The same federal law affords the USDA officials access to inspect those same entities.
Nevertheless, if you query anyone not employed by the USDA or its supporters, they will agree that their efforts have been failing.
However, the obvious answer to the permissive USDA enforcement and weak laws is to bolster those efforts. Somehow, the USDA believes the best course of action is to outsource both oversight and enforcement.
A Government’s Agenda Should Never be More Important Than Life
I know at first glance, I did not see a problem with this. This was because a dedicated agency, private or otherwise, might prove more effective. Especially if it is unbiased and shares no allegiances. On the other hand, it does become a problem when the exact same people that are tasked with oversight and enforcement are the same people they must inspect.
That is the equivalent of borrowing money from yourself.
The Precursors of These Events Were Evident as Early as Last Year
In 2017, the USDA purges thousands of Animal Welfare Act inspection reports and violation notices. This same information was once readily available to the public and was searchable via the internet.
In one fell swoop, it is now impossible to know if a particular breeder or organization is in violation of the Animal Welfare Act. Furthermore, this also prohibits the public from knowing if the USDA is even enforcing their own laws or doing their job.
If the USDA is allowed to continue with this plan, it will lead to a free-for-all and the animals will be the ones who suffer.
It Was In Plain Sight, but We Chose Not to See
So what happened to all of the rhetoric in regards to BSL. They are still touting that their main goals are safety for communities and the animals.
Their moratorium on dog fighting is the calling card of all BSL. They say safety is first but this type of behavior does not promote safety for humans or animals.
The need for oversight, in this case, is an understatement.
This is Another Example of One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back
More importantly, these animals need our help. However, there seems to be a complete change in policy and procedure by the USDA.
The USDA purges thousands of documents and reports and those that are available have been redacted (blacked-out). Furthermore, if you want access to these documents, now you must file a Freedom of Information Act request.
The USDA was asked why did they remove public access. They responded with the following statement. “Based on our commitment to being transparent … and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals.”
The Only Thing Transparent Here is a Disregard for the Welfare of Animals
The truth of the matter is, inspection reports contain little, if any, personal information about individuals. It would appear that the real reason is that public access to these reports has led to frequent media reports and articles. These same reports and articles have led to the exposure of violations and the incompetence of the USDA.
The Humane Society of the United States said in a statement: “This action benefits no one, except facilities who have harmed animals and don’t want anyone to know.”
Where Do We Draw the Line?
These reports apply to 7813 facilities that keep animals covered by the law, according to reports.
That is roughly 1200 research labs, which are often housed at major academic centers or run by government agencies themselves. This includes the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
These changes will permit the suffering of all animals. So far as dogs go, Pit Bull will suffer even more. There will be no coming back from this if it continues.
At the Epicenter of a Disaster In the Making
We must insist that they retract this proposal and stop trying to pass off their responsibilities to third-party companies with no authority or accountability.
According to the ASPCA, we have until March 21, 2018 to send the USDA care of The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) a message. To let them know that we do not support their proposal for deregulation. This change would be a disaster for the animals living in these facilities and place other animals in a position to be abused. There truly would be no one looking out for them and there would be nothing we could do.