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AAVS renews call for passage of the Pet Safety and Protection Act
On September 24, 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report on the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) oversight of certain Class B dealers, who sell random source dogs and cats to laboratories. After reviewing USDA records for fiscal years 2007-2009 and interviewing USDA inspectors and the dealers themselves, GAO found fault with USDA management. It recommended that USDA improve its analysis and use of traceback information to ensure that dogs and cats are obtained legally and collect and track oversight costs, because currently USDA cannot determine the amount of money being spent to regulate facilities under its jurisdiction.
While AAVS appreciates the desire to have better information gathering for costs and tracebacks, we consider this report to be further evidence of the need to simply shut down these random source Class B dealer facilities entirely, as called for in the Pet Safety and Protection Act, H.R. 3907 and S. 1834.
In its report, GAO summarized the following problems with random source Class B dealer facilities and USDA oversight:
- 54 of 156 inspection reports (over 1/3) cited at least one dealer violation.
- 7 of the 9 random source dealers had one or more violations.
- Several dealers were under further Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) investigation due to repeated violations.
- In 2009, 16% of tracebacks ended unsuccessfully because the inspector either could not locate the source of a dog or cat based on the address given by the dealer or determined the source was not legitimate.
- Despite APHIS guidance that tracebacks should occur within 30 days of the dealer inspection, 42 of 326 tracebacks attempted during 2009 remain incomplete.
This GAO report is yet another indication of the difficulty with regulating random source Class B dealers. Its findings, added to those of the 2009 National Academies Institute for Laboratory Animal Research report, which concluded that dogs and cats from these dealers are not necessary for NIH funded research, all point to the fact that there is no legitimate reason to allow these operations to stay in business. Continuing to spend valuable resources inspecting, re-inspecting, and now analyzing and reporting on these few remaining random source dealers is a waste of taxpayer money and has not helped to protect the dogs and cats who continue to suffer in their facilities. In light of this new information, AAVS urges Congress to quickly pass the Pet Safety and Protection Act and put random source dealers out of business permanently.
See the entire GAO report (PDF).