On July 10, 2019, the Alliance emailed all USDA Animal Care Inspectors, including senior staff, pointing out that the inspectors were violating federal law by falsifying inspection reports of animal facilities. At the time, USDA was documenting many violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) on a separate form while conducting inspections and not citing them on the official inspection report of the animal facility. The inspectors would then state on the official inspection report that “no non-compliant items were discovered during this inspection.” We pointed out in our emails to the inspectors that doing so is a federal offense punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
USDA quickly changed this procedure after our emails to the inspectors and staff but only slightly by varying the wording on the inspection report so that it currently states, “no non-compliant items documented on the inspection report.” The current process, however, is still illegal as federal law is clear that “misleading” statements on federal documents and the “concealing of material facts” on such documents are also a violation of federal law.
Two years later, due to records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, we learn that Dr. Goldentyer did not take kindly to the Alliance emailing its inspectors and warning them that they were violating federal law. Instead of effectively addressing our concerns, Dr. Goldentyer changed the email addresses of leadership at USDA and sent inspectors and other employees instructions on how to block emails from the Alliance.
Two months later, the Alliance again emailed all USDA inspectors sending them a link to a Washington Post article exposing the failure of USDA to effectively enforce the AWA. This second email caused great consternation to Dr. Goldentyer as she lamented to her supervisor at the time, that she had changed email addresses and other addresses were blocked but “Ugh – after we changed the group names and blocked the sender” the Alliance still successfully emailed staff and inspectors - pointing out USDA’s malfeasance.
Sadly, rather than addressing the legitimate and serious concerns that the Alliance expressed in these mailings, Dr. Goldentyer reached out to USDA’s Chief Security Officer complaining that the Alliance was still successful in contacting staff despite her efforts to block emails from the Alliance and even after changing email addresses.