Action taken to protect animals at commercial puppy breeders continued to decline rapidly in 2019, official statistics from the US Department of Agriculture reveal.
Protection enforcement carried out by the department plummeted in 2018 – drawing criticism from the ASPCA – and latest figures reveal the trend continued last year.
The drop means that less and less puppy mills, zoos and research institutions were penalised for failing to meet the required standard of care.
Animal welfare groups argue that the decline does not mean that less animal abuse is taking place, but instead that the rules are not being sufficiently enforced.
Statistics reveal that the USDA completed 9,000 inspections in 2019 to ensure businesses comply with the Animal Welfare Act.
The USDA has the responsibility to punish businesses and ultimately protect animals from harm. The Department’s powers include revoking or suspending licenses or referring a business for a criminal investigation.
Animal protection organisation the ASPCA has condemned the latest figures which reveal the USDA only opened 17 new enforcement cases.
That’s down 93% from 2016, while only two formal warnings were issued in comparison to 200 in 2016.
“Based on these numbers, when an inspector finds a violation—including animals in need of veterinary care, cages that are too small, or a lack of clean water or food—the agency most often chooses to take no action at all,” the ASPCA wrote in response.
“It is abundantly clear that the USDA is failing its duty to protect vulnerable animals from harm.
“But while the government might choose to allow businesses that violate the law to go unpunished, we can fight back by helping to stop businesses from profiting from cruelty. States, counties and cities have passed laws to prevent commercial (USDA-licensed) breeders and brokers from supplying puppies to local retail pet stores.
The group urged anyone who lives outside of New York to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade – which will alert members when there is an opportunity to speak up for vulnerable animals in your state and across the country.
Share this article to reveal the decline of enforcement against puppy mills in the US.
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