Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture
Goal: Applaud efforts to require puppy mills to be licensed and inspected
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a new rule that will establish greater federal oversight of puppy mills and online pet sales, closing a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). For the first time in history anyone, including breeders, who sell their dogs directly to the public will be required to have a license and also undergo inspections by the USDA. This is a landmark bill that will protect thousands of animals across the country and deserves our gratitude.
Many puppies sold online are bred in puppy mills. They are forced to endure cruel and unsanitary conditions, deprived of veterinary care, and proper food or water. The loophole in the AWA is that breeders who sell dogs commercially through pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected, but breeders that sell directly to consumers via the internet, newspapers, etc., are not. The direct sales exemption was added to AWA rules before the existence of the internet. If a consumer were to buy a dog directly from the consumer they could assess the health and welfare of the dog on site, therefore, no federal oversight was needed. At the time nobody could have predicted that the consumers could one day buy dogs online, sight-unseen, or have them delivered. Sadly, it has taken decades for someone to finally close this loophole.
The reason behind the USDA’s sudden course of action is an effort on behalf of the ASPCA and several other animal welfare organizations in which 350,000 letters and signatures were collected. Thanks to these concerned citizens and the USDA, thousands of dogs will no longer have to endure a life of misery in puppy mills, consumers can feel safe knowing their new pet is coming from a reputable breeder, and the more cruel and unsanitary breeding operations will be shut down for failure to pass inspections.
Please take a moment to thank the USDA for this landmark rule.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
The USDA recently established a rule that will require all puppy mills and breeders, including those who sell online sight-unseen, to be licensed and inspected. This will be the first time in history that breeders who sell directly to consumers are required to uphold the same standards as commercial breeders.
Thank you so much protecting dogs from the cruel and unsanitary conditions of puppy mills. Hopefully we will soon see a day when all breeding operations are cruelty free.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: thetbone via Flickr