- The USDA is tasked with licensing certain animal businesses and enforcing federal animal welfare care standards.
- The agency typically auto-renews puppy mill licenses despite heinous, illegal animal abuses that go uncorrected and unenforced year after year. This practice of “rubber-stamping” licenses has been criticized for decades by lawmakers, animal advocates and the USDA’s own Office of Inspector General.
- The USDA finalized a new rule supposedly intended to address this flaw, yet the rule is absent of any meaningful improvements.
- License renewal will be conditional upon demonstrating AWA compliance during an inspection period at the end of each three-year term (rather than a 12-month term).
- The USDA will provide three announced inspection opportunities to meet the end-of-term requirements.
- It appears that the agency will not deny a license application due to AWA violations or other “non-compliance” issues noted by agency inspectors outside of these announced inspections.
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