May 14, 2020
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced improvements to the treatment of dogs at all USDA-inspected facilities, as well as provisions to prevent previous license holders to obtain license renewals if they have not met the standards of care as described in the Animal Welfare Act.
These new provisions aim to streamline the application process for compliant license holders by reducing fees and changing the renewal process from once a year to once every three years. For each renewal and new license application, applicants must show to APHIS that their facilities are compliant with Animal Welfare Act standards of care. Businesses or entities with a history of noncompliance and violations would not be able to reapply.
These USDA-licensed facilities, such as research laboratories and puppy mills, must now keep written veterinary records–which the USDA may request at any time–showing that all of their dogs receive “head to tail” veterinary check ups at least once a year including vaccinations and preventive care. Facilities are also required to provide 24-hour access to potable water for all dogs unless being transported or restricted for medical reasons by an attending veterinarian.
While these measures are improvements that will clearly benefit the animals living at USDA-licensed facilities, it is disappointing that annual vet check ups and access to water were not already being monitored and enforced as humane standards of care. The fact that the USDA must demand proof that these standards are being practiced shows that many facilities are not currently practicing them.
Take Action: This is why it is so important that we continue to speak up for the welfare of animals. The USDA formed these new rules after reading over 47,000 comments from American citizens who voiced their concerns on the federal register. You can read those comments, and the USDA’s responses, here.
Do you believe a USDA-licensed commercial animal breeder, exhibitor, or research facility is violating the Animal Welfare Act? Visit this page to file a complaint.
“The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.” -Jane Goodall