USDA must now publicly report all animal welfare violations
As ordered by Congress, the agency has ended a practice that allowed animal welfare inspectors to omit certain violations from public reports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture now will cite all welfare violations in its animal facility inspection reports, the agency announced.
At animal facilities—such as dog breeding centers and roadside zoos—the USDA conducts routine inspections to ensure compliance with the Animal Welfare Act, which requires the humane treatment of animals used for research or exhibition. Violators can be fined or charged with animal cruelty.
For the last six years, however, the USDA has allowed a so-called “teachable moments” policy, wherein minor violations, such as record-keeping problems or lapses in cleanliness, were not documented in facilities’ public inspection reports.
For years, animal welfare advocates have criticized this policy for its lack of transparency. “It was impossible to get an accurate report of a licensed facility’s