Warning – There are extremely graphic photos of animal cruelty at both of the links below.
As many of us have been saying for years, the USDA has been falling down on the job with regard to licensed dog breeder inspections. Raised by Wolves has a first look at a report (pdf) the USDA has released in which they audit their own inspection practices. They basically give themselves an F. Minus.
- AC’s [Animal Care’s] Enforcement Process Was Ineffective Against Problematic Dealers.
- AC Inspectors Did Not Cite or Document Violations Properly To Support Enforcement Actions.
- Although APHIS [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] previously agreed to revise its penalty worksheet to produce “significantly higher” penalties for violators of AWA [Animal Welfare Act], the agency continued to assess minimal penalties that did not deter violators.
- APHIS Misused Guidelines to Lower Penalties for AWA Violators.
You get the idea. And while this isn’t news to many of us who have recognized the results of the deficiencies in the USDA inspection process for years, I for one have often blamed the lack of funding which results in too few inspectors, lack of follow up, etc. Now I’m seeing that there appears to be rampant corruption within the agency, whether that be intentional or due to ignorance I neither know nor care.
The failings here are not simply a lack of funding. They are a systemic rot within the agency characterized by negligence – criminal negligence in this layman’s opinion. As a taxpayer, I expect far better from my government. The rot needs to be gutted from the USDA inspections process and replaced with solid material. For starters, any inspectors who saw the suffering dogs depicted in the cruelty photos and did not take appropriate action as per their job descriptions need to be 86’d. And I’m betting there are more that need to go.
This report reinforces my thought that there is no point – and indeed it would be counterproductive – to add new breeder laws to the books. We are not getting the job done as things stand. Let’s correct that before we talk about piling on more laws regarding pet breeding. We have the framework in place to get these tasks done but we are severely lacking in execution. I would think that’s a fixable problem. It’s called accountability. USDA inspectors need to do their jobs, not just cash the paychecks we provide for them every week.