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Costly USDA proposal would spend more tax dollars and help animal abusers

The USDA has been using tax-payer dollars to help animal-exploiting outfits like circuses, puppy mills, and roadside zoos, even when they violate the law, when they should be shutting them down.

DELCIANNA J. WINDERS: ‘For years the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been using your tax dollars to help animal-exploiting outfits like circuses, puppy mills, and roadside zoos, even when they violate the law. Now the agency is proposing to use even more taxpayer money to prop up these outfits. The agency should be shutting them down. With the aim of ensuring the humane care and treatment of animals, the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) requires operators… to obtain licenses from the USDA and undergo inspections. Here’s the problem: Even when it documents egregious animal welfare violations, the USDA automatically renews licenses — and it does so to the tune of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The agency recently renewed an animal welfare license after inspecting and citing for a host of repeat violations, including failing to provide veterinary care to an antelope who was limping and in pain — the facility hadn’t even noticed that the animal was suffering — and for using a paralytic drug that can cause animals to suffocate while they’re fully conscious. This was the 18th time in less than three years that the USDA cited it for the drug.

But that didn’t stop the agency from yet again renewing the license he needs to continue profiting off of animals. The cost of issuing that license? Just a few hundred dollars. For taxpayers, a few thousand dollars at least, based on data from the USDA. With approximately 6,000 animal-welfare licensees out there, that adds up to millions of taxpayer dollars annually… What’s more, while the USDA has also proposed conditioning license renewal on compliance with minimum welfare standards…

While saying it will finally deny license applications from chronic violators, it simultaneously proposes to allow these businesses to continue to operate despite the denial until they can be given a full trial-type hearing. That’s right: The USDA wants to use even more of your tax dollars so that animal exploiters who have already had an opportunity to appeal their citations and to come into compliance can receive excessive process’. SOURCE…

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