Target: Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
Goal: Close a loophole in breeder regulation that exempts internet sellers from licensing and inspection.
Under the Animal Welfare Law, breeders who sell puppies to pet stores or puppy brokers must be licensed and are subject to inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, technology has greatly advanced since the law was passed, and now many breeders sell directly over the internet, evading the USDA’s regulations. An update to this law is long overdue. Sign the petition urging the USDA to close the loopholes in breeding laws.
The Animal Welfare Act was passed almost fifty years ago. It has been amended several times, with the most recent amendment passing in 2008. In that time the use of the internet has skyrocketed, and people are as likely to find a pet on Craigslist as they are at their local pet store or animal shelter. As it stands now, the Animal Welfare Act has no power to regulate breeders who conduct their business via the internet–and regulation is sorely needed.
Many breeders mistreat their animals, and without proper regulation, abuse can go unchecked for years. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), “[p]uppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization… Breeding dogs at mills might spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or crammed inside filthy structures where they never get the chance to feel the sun or breathe fresh air.” Female dogs are bred as often as possible with very little time to recover between litters, dogs may be kept in wire-bottomed cages that hurt their paws, and puppies are often removed from their mothers and littermates far too early.
Animal advocacy groups like the ASPCA have recommended changes to the current laws regulating puppy mills. The USDA places the number of puppy mills in the United States between 2,000 and 3,000, but the ASPCA estimates that there may be as many as 10,000, including those that are operating illegally or otherwise without government oversight.
Take a stand against animal cruelty and encourage the USDA to close the loopholes in its regulation of puppy mills.
Dear Mr. Vilsack,
Over the years, the Animal Welfare Act has been amended many times to reflect growing and changing concerns about animal welfare. However, one significant aspect of the law has been overlooked. The current language of the Animal Welfare Act makes it impossible for the USDA to oversee breeding operations that conduct their business online. In a country where we rely increasingly on the internet for everything from research to shopping, this is a gross oversight. I urge you to take immediate steps to correct this problem and close the loophole in the Animal Welfare Act.
Under the Animal Welfare Act as it stands now, animals breeders and “puppy mills” are regulated by the USDA and held to certain standards of quality, cleanliness, and so on. However, the regulation only applies to breeders who sell to pet stores or puppy brokers. There is no regulation of breeders who sell their animals directly over the internet. This glaring loophole leaves many dogs (and other animals!) vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse.
Help keep the Animal Welfare Act strong and up-to-date. Adopt the recommendations of animal welfare groups like the ASPCA and close this harmful and needless loophole once and for all.
[Your Name Here]
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