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.