Target: Kevin Shea, Administrator of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services
Goal: Applaud efforts to stop the abusive sale of animals via the internet.
In 2010, the USDA’s Inspector General released a report detailing the inhumane conditions of puppy mills countrywide and recommending that existing regulations be updated, as the previous animal welfare laws had been penned over forty years prior and predated the arrival of the internet. These days breeders who sell puppies online bill themselves as pet retailers, who under these regulations have been exempt from mandated licensure on the grounds that buyers can see the pets to determine good health and care before buying – buyer regulation to which online breeders are not subjected.
According to the blog of Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the HSUS along with the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Doris Day Animal League joined forces to urge the USDA to reconsider existing animal welfare rules, pointing out “that it was fundamentally unfair that people involved in the same underlying business enterprise (breeding dogs to sell for profit) would face entirely different regulatory standards.” Seeing sense, the USDA has issued new regulations requiring that online pet retailers apply for federal licenses, basically mandating that either buyers or government inspectors see the animals in person before they are sold. This regulation exempts small operations or “hobby breeders” from the licensure requirement; therefore, large operations can no longer expect to sell animals subjected to poor conditions sight-unseen. This action by the USDA benefits not only puppies raised in mills, but also rabbits, kittens, and other small warm-blooded animals raised in large-scale operations.
By signing this petition, you are thanking the USDA for their action protecting tens of thousands of animals from abuse at the hands of large-scale breeders who consider themselves exempt from animal welfare regulation. You are encouraging the USDA to keep its promise to these animals to enforce this regulation, effectively bringing an end to the era of animal abuse via online animal mills.
Dear Kevin Shea,
I am encouraged by the USDA’s recent decision to close the loopholes that have existed for far too long in animal welfare regulations, which allowed internet breeders to flout licensure and keep puppies, rabbits, and kittens in horrific conditions with impunity. These large-scale operations must be tightly regulated or shut down, as they have caused the needless suffering of tens of thousands of small warm-blooded animals in the name of profit.
Thank you for coming to this important decision to protect helpless animals from abuse at the hands of large-scale breeders that believe their internet business exempt from the basic demands of animal welfare. I urge the USDA to enforce this new regulation to the fullest extent of its power, effectively ending the era of large-scale animal breeding operations that put their bottom line above the humane treatment of the animals in their care.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Life Lenses via Flickr