The Humane Society of the United States
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Tell the USDA: Don't outsource animal welfare inspections

The USDA is considering outsourcing some of its Animal Welfare Act inspections to private third parties.

This decision would affect USDA-regulated facilities, including thousands of puppy mills, wildlife exhibitors and research labs. In other words, the agency may hand off power to the regulated community to decide which facilities warrant USDA oversight, a move that would essentially lead to industry self-policing. This would be devastating to the welfare of animals kept in these facilities, where AWA enforcement is already subpar.

Past experience has shown how terribly wrong an approach like this can be for animals. The USDA already uses third parties to inspect for signs of horse soring, a cruel training practice that has been illegal for decades, but persists largely due to outsourcing. The agency's decision to hand off some of its oversight responsibilities, likely to groups with ties to the very businesses they would be inspecting, is not the answer to increased animal protections.

Take Action

Please submit a comment to the USDA by March 21 and express your opposition to the use of private third-party inspections to enforce animal welfare laws.

Visit the comment page for this issue on»

You can use the following sample copy or personalize your comment to make it stand out:

The USDA should retain full oversight authority over all inspections of puppy mills, roadside zoos and research facilities. The USDA should not view third-party inspections and certifications favorably when determining the frequency of federal inspections that may be needed. This type of industry self-policing reduces transparency and accountability and has already proven to fail.