The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is falling far short of
its mandate to protect companion animals like dogs and cats from becoming
victims of research. Last summer, random source Class B animal dealer
Chestnut Grove Kennels closed its doors after a federal investigation
revealed shady business practices. Most recently, AAVS has learned that R&R
Research, a random source Class B dealer with multiple Animal Welfare Act
(AWA) violations, has been awarded a new license by the USDA. We need to
keep the pressure on USDA to protect America's pets!
The USDA is the federal agency charged with enforcing the AWA, legislation originally enacted to protect companion animals like dogs and cats from being stolen and sold to research laboratories. Unfortunately, USDA still allows licensed dealers to sell dogs and cats to research from random sources such as pounds, shelters, and individuals.
Notorious for operating at the margins of the law and illegally obtaining animals, random source Class B dealers have been a long-standing drain on USDA resources, requiring inspections four times a year, which, especially in recent times with other national budget priorities, is concerning.
Thankfully, the number of random source animal dealers has declined from approximately 200 in the 1970s and 1980s to only seven active dealers in 2012. However, the majority are under investigation for violating the AWA.
Not surprisingly, a 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report detailing USDA’s failure to effectively manage random source Class B dealers. Many of these shortcomings were related to incomplete tracebacks, which are checks on the sources of animals that are important not only in enforcing the AWA but also in recovering a lost or stolen pet. Despite this report, random source Class B dealers continue to reap profits.
Although these dealers have few defenders, the so-called ‘service’ they provide has been shown to be unnecessary. At Congress’s urging, the National Academies’ Institute for Laboratory Animal Research conducted a study, which found that it is not “necessary to continue to obtain random source dogs and cats for NIH research from Class B dealers.”
AAVS has tabulated AWA violations, numbers of animals sold, and profits for currently active dealers, which is available on our website at www.aavs.org/DirtyBusiness. It all adds up to a cruel, unnecessary, and unfixable system in dire need of law enforcement.
What you can do!
Random source Class B dealers have been repeatedly cited for violations of the Animal Welfare Act for both illegally obtaining animals and for the substandard care they give to those animals in their possession. Urge the USDA to support any regulatory and legislative changes that would help protect animals from random source Class B dealerss.
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