Initiates Audit of USDA

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), the internal investigative unit within the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has initiated a “performance audit” of USDA. This audit is in response to a request by the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation in an effort to expose the failure of USDA to effectively enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act as it pertains to puppy mills.

The Alliance has been lobbying Congress for an OIG audit for many months and is thankful to Congressman Mark Pocan and his colleagues for persuading OIG to provide this opportunity for oversight.  The Alliance is hopeful that such an audit will reveal to the public USDA’s malfeasance and lead to a reform of the Agency.  
USDA official informs breeders that violations will now be called "teachable moments"
Instead of addressing abuses in the industry and initiating effective enforcement measures to ensure the health and welfare of dogs in commercial breeding operations, USDA has chosen to cover-up the industry’s wrong-doings . USDA is doing so in an effort to present a false narrative of the commercial dog breeding business for the sole purpose of protecting the economic interest of substandard dog breeders. USDA has been aiding and abetting cruel puppy mills for several years and has defended its actions by arguing that “we need to enable breeders to sell their dogs to pet stores…[and] citing violations is an impediment to such sales.”   
OIG announces that they will be monitoring USDA inspectors in the near future
Fortunately, the Office of Inspector General is taking notice of USDA’s malfeasance in covering-up abuse at puppy mills. A similar audit by OIG in 2010 had a significant impact on USDA in 2011 and 2012 and increased enforcement efforts dramatically in that time period. Hundreds of cruel puppy mills were forced to shut down in Missouri in the years shortly after the 2010 audit. We are hopeful that the same results will occur following the 2019 audit.  

Congress is also taking notice of USDA’s deceptive practices in concealing Animal Welfare Act violations from the public. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture inserted the following language in their budget report to USDA, “The Committee is deeply concerned by how the Animal Care program is being managed. In particular, it [USDA] has employed mechanisms such as ‘‘teachable moments’’ to avoid documenting violations of the laws it enforces. To address these concerns, the Committee directs Animal Care to immediately require all its inspectors to cite every observed violation at any visit to a regulated entity .” 

This is in addition to language by the Appropriations Subcommittee that requires USDA to once again post inspection reports on its website for public viewing "in their entirety without redactions." Congress Takes Action

  We will keep you advised as we learn more about the OIG audit and how
USDA responds to instructions from Congress on how it should start enforcing
 the Animal Welfare Act at puppy mills.  
USDA claims that citing violations is hurting the business of puppy millers