Animal Welfare Act Enforcement

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Good: After more than five years, modest regulatory changes were finalized which will close existing loopholes and improve USDA's ability to enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), particularly at the premises of dealers and exhibitors.

Bad: USDA will not be finalizing a much-needed policy regarding training and handling of potentially dangerous animals (e.g. lions, tigers, bears, and elephants). Apparently the agency capitulated to pressure from the exhibition industry.

Ugly: USDA has ceased providing the public with copies of inspection reports of dealer, research, and exhibitor premises. Now this data will have to be obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, and there is a three year backlog.

Charles River Labs Charged with Animal Cruelty

Four years ago, The Coulston Foundation of Alamogordo, NM, under threat of a USDA case for violating the Animal Welfare Act, gave the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 288 of its chimps. NIH decided to let Charles River Labs take care of the apes and provided a $42 million contract for ten years. According to a September 7 criminal complaint filed against Charles River Labs and two of its officials, on three separate occasions chimps suffering grave wounds were left in the "care" of untrained night security guards. Two chimps died.

Thanks to In Defense of Animals for providing authorities with key information.

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