Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Transparency is a Good Thing

I'm all for government transparency and accountability. That's why I was glad to come across this bit from Best Friends:
Animal welfare advocates around the country shouted a collective “hallelujah!” last month when the unbelievable finally happened: USDA inspection reports were put online for all to see. Instant access.

It should have been the case all along, but previously, the USDA made the process of viewing breeders’ inspection reports so convoluted and time consuming that it was difficult for those in the know to get them, much less a curious potential puppy or kitten purchaser.

Reputable pet breeders have nothing to hide when it comes to compliance with the law. Now potential buyers can look at USDA inspection records with just a few clicks. And they can see what their tax dollars are paying for which is an added plus.

10 comments:

Rinalia said...

I'm really surprised. Having utilized the FOIA in the past, trying to get info from the USDA, FDA, and, in our case, the California FDA has been like pulling teeth from an enraged tiger on steroids.

Rinalia said...

Oops, I meant California Department of Food and Ag, not FDA...

Heather Houlahan said...

Reputable breeders won't appear on the USDA site, because reputable breeders are not big enough to warrant USDA licensure.

The fact that a puppymill is clean is small comfort to the production units caged within.

Pai said...

Yes, but it makes it easier for people to see if that 'family breeder' claim made on some websites is true or not. If people look them up and see they're actually a USDA-inspected mill, perhaps that will discourage some buyers.

YesBiscuit! said...

Pai - you and I are on the same wave length!

Katie said...

I dunno, Pai. After after all, USDA inspected meat = good. Why not USDA inspected puppies?

I once had a local puppymiller bitch me out on the phone and insist that her establishment was not a puppymill because she was inspected by the USDA (And according to the website, doesn't bother with grooming upkeep of her dogs). I was at work and couldn't say what I really thought, but really, I was like "yes, I know. I rest my case". Sigh.

Pai said...

I guess I assume that most people know the hellholes that are 'USDA approved' factory farms. Perhaps some people out there still think their chicken, pork and beef live on emerald fields and in cute red barns?

I know what 'USDA' means and doesn't mean. And it doesn't guarantee 'humane'. Perhaps that's the basic thing we need to make sure more people know.

Cait said...

Does anyone happen to know how USDA inspection works if someone is USDA registered for one species (I'm thinking of a specific individual here in TX who has hedgehogs, which you must have a USDA permit to breed and sell and she does) but not others (she also breeds and shows TFTs).

I've always wondered.

Anonymous said...

Cait, she would not need to be licensed as a USDA kennel unless she breeds above a certain threshold.

USDA licensing for exotics is generally a requirement of state Fish and Game (or whatever the state version of such is) which is a separate issue from licensing as a commercial breeder which is based pretty much on volume.

I know some one who breeds and shows dogs who also has a commercial aviary that is licensed. She does not qualify for or need a USDA license for the one or two litters she might have in a year. I've never heard of a case where having a USDA license for one species automatically meant that you would be considered "commercial" for dogs or cats.

It would be like having a license to raise and export exotic orchids commercially and then growing and showing roses strictlty as a hobby, with only an occaisional sale to other hobbyists, but never offered for sale under the USDA license terms or through the business.

In the case of some one raising and showing tfts, she'd only need a USDA license if she breeds on a large enough scale to be commercial rather than hobby, which varies from state to state even though USDA is federal and has their own definition. States can lower the threshold if they choose to do so via legislation. States or counties could also deem that ALL animals on premise would need to be included etc... but it's not a federal issue so far as I know.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, that was me

JenniferJ