USDA Fails to Fix Problematic Rubber-Stamping Policy for Animal Businesses

  • 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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