Caught up in the Administration’s rabid, non-strategic frenzy of deregulation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering something truly despicable: allowing for-profit businesses that exploit and exhibit animals, like puppy mills, research labs and zoos, to essentially police and “inspect” themselves. Does this sound like a good idea to you? Because we are terrified.

It’s the USDA’s job, under the Animal Welfare Act, to conduct routine, unannounced inspections of animals and conditions at facilities that are required to be federally licensed. Now, the agency wants non-governmental, self-interested trade groups often associated with these industries to take over this critical function.

This change would be a disaster for the animals living in these facilities. No one would be looking out for them, and there would be nothing we could do to help them or to be sure they’re being treated humanely.

The USDA is truly going too far this time. We must insist that they retract this proposal and stop trying to pass off their responsibilities to third-party companies with no authority or accountability. Please submit a comment to the USDA right now, telling them enough is enough: Do your jobs!

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