The Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation is not welcome at the USDA’s annual meeting with animal welfare organizations.
In May of every year, the USDA conducts a public meeting with animal welfare groups from across the country. In the past couple of years, due to COVID, there have been webinar meetings instead where one must submit questions in advance and the USDA can accept or reject answering such questions. This year, however, the USDA has agreed to have an in-person meeting allowing for what we had hoped would be an opportunity for a free exchange of ideas, questions, suggestions, input, etc., with all interested animal welfare groups.  

With one exception, this year the Alliance will not be invited to attend as the USDA makes another attempt to silence its most vocal critic. The Alliance has continually advocated for effective enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act by the USDA whether such advocacy efforts were lobbying the USDA directly, or if necessary, initiating legal action through the courts or lobbying Congress.  

This rebuff of the Alliance by the USDA is a follow-up to the Agency’s failed attempt to block the Alliance from emailing USDA staff including communications informing the USDA inspectors that they were violating federal law by falsifying inspection reports of animal facilities. While such emails to individual inspectors eventually resulted in halting this illegal practice, the USDA did not appreciate our correspondence and requested the USDA’s Chief Security Officer to silence the Alliance. (See Alliance e-newsletter of December 2021).  

While the USDA was unable to block our emails, regrettably they have resolutely refused to respond to any inquiries submitted to the USDA by the Alliance, not just emails sent to groups but even emails directed solely to a particular individual or office at the USDA.   

Fortunately, our legal efforts in the courts have successfully halted the USDA’s illegal “self-reporting” rule and our lobbying efforts with Congress have halted the USDA’s illegal “teachable moments” rule and thus provided much-needed transparency of animal welfare industries such as puppy mills and animals used in research. (See Special Report)  
While the USDA’s head of enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act, Dr. Betty Goldentyer, attempts to silence and obstruct the work of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, fortunately, Congress and the federal courts are listening to the Alliance and are responding to our concerns by mandating that the USDA enforce laws protecting animals. 

Ironically, while the USDA found the Alliance an unsuitable participant for a USDA meeting, the Agency recently invited a professor of veterinary medicine to speak at the USDA’s Canine Care Conference who instructed the commercial dog breeders on how to perform cruel methods of artificial insemination. The USDA at this same conference invited a tax accountant who advised breeders to ignore notices from the IRS, to be sure and write off their dead puppies, as well as deduct expenses for their personal manicures. Yet, the USDA disinvites the Alliance to a meeting ostensibly to avoid uncomfortable questions about the USDA’s past failures to effectively enforce the Animal Welfare Act.