USDA Settles Lawsuit Rather Than Face Their Day in Court
The Alliance is excited to announce that it has succeeded in its federal lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Our lawsuit was filed in response to the Agency’s illegal adoption of the “teachable moments” rule and the “self-reporting” rule. These rules were adopted in an effort to avoid enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act by employing deceptive practices to conceal inhumane conditions at puppy mills, animal research facilities, and other USDA licensed premises. 

As a result of the Alliance’s legal efforts, USDA has consented to cease all use of the “self-reporting” rule. This is especially significant for animals used in research as almost all humane care violations for research animals are being “self-reported” and thereby ignored by USDA. In addition, USDA has acquiesced to changing its definition of “teachable moments” to ensure that significant animal welfare violations would no longer be considered “teachable moments.” As part of the settlement, USDA is required to re-train all of its staff members to ensure that its inspectors would no longer consider meaningful violations to be “teachable moments.”  

As a result of our lawsuit, USDA is mandated to publicly display all violations considered “teachable moments” on USDA’s website alongside the breeder’s inspection reports. This will allow consumers and those concerned about the welfare of animals to more accurately track the conditions at puppy mills, research labs, and at animal exhibits.
USDA often ignored serious violations calling them “teachable moments.”  
Without admitting guilt, USDA will pay all legal fees and litigation costs to the attorneys representing the Alliance. The Alliance is very grateful to Advancing Law for Animals and the Barrella Law firm for their tireless efforts over the past 18 months working on behalf of the Alliance in pursuing justice for the animals.   

The “self-reporting” and “teachable moments” rules were not only inhumane to the animals but were adopted and implemented without giving public notice and without seeking public comments. Thereby, the Alliance has now given USDA a “teachable moment” on the federal rule-making process and has halted USDA’s efforts to aid and abet cruel puppy mills, inhumane animal researchers, and disreputable animal industries. 

This is a momentous victory for the animals who have suffered for far too long at the hands of their abusers and with the full knowledge and complicity of the U. S. Department of Agriculture – the very Agency charged with their protection.
The Animals have won the day receiving relief via the justice system.