Humanitarians have been waiting for more than a year for action on two egregious situations—both reported previously in the Winter 2013 AWI Quarterly—pending before the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The first involves Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc. (SCBT), a licensed animal dealer and registered research facility that routinely collects blood from its animals so that it can sell the antibodies for use in experimentation. USDA filed a complaint against the company for alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act in July 2012. Just three months later, a USDA veterinary inspector cited SCBT for deliberately denying the existence of an entire facility at the site housing 841 goats. Apparently, SCBT management and veterinarians had hidden this location and its animals from USDA inspection and oversight for years! More than a year later, USDA has not filed either an amended (expanded) complaint or a second complaint against this company.
The second situation involves APHIS’ Wildlife Services program (WS). Last October, AWI sent a formal request that WS terminate trapper Jamie Olson after photos posted on his Facebook page revealed that he had engaged in animal cruelty—and that he had done so on the taxpayers’ dime. The images depicted Olson tormenting coyotes captured in steel-jaw leghold traps and allowing his dogs to attack the defenseless animals. Although WS committed to undertake a “thorough review” of the situation last November, Olson has not been fired and no report detailing the investigation has been released. Meanwhile, the APHIS administrator has complained about the program's negative news coverage (see page 24).
Both situations warrant a strong response from USDA to demonstrate its intolerance of this appalling behavior. Please contact USDA APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea and request long overdue action against SCBT and Jamie Olson. Write to:
Kevin Shea, Administrator
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250