USDA Scandal Fallout: ASPCA Sends Letter to USDA & Congress; Senior USDA Official Resigns

April 4, 2023

a beagle behind a wire grate

On March 16, 2023, the ASPCA sent an open letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and members of Congress to take immediate action to protect dogs from government-sanctioned cruelty following an appalling USDA cover-up of the Envigo case

A little more than a week later, the Deputy Administrator of the problem-ridden Animal Care program at the USDA announced her resignation. 

Dr. Betty Goldentyer had been with the USDA since 1988. According to the USDA’s website, Goldentyer led Animal Care employees in “protecting and ensuring the welfare of millions of animals nationwide that are covered under the Animal Welfare Act.”

The USDA’s history of avoiding its responsibility of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, the only federal law that protects animals in commercial facilities, is well-documented, and the Envigo case is just one more appalling example. The agency refused to protect the animals in the mass Beagle-breeding operation, then went to great lengths to cover up the company’s horrible abuse toward thousands of dogs. 

Our open letter [PDF] sent to Congress urged them to pass Goldie’s Act, legislation which would require the USDA to do their job to enforce the Animal Welfare Act and to appoint an independent office of oversight of the Animal Care branch to protect animals under their responsibility. This letter also implored USDA Secretary Vilsack to immediately launch an investigation and terminate USDA staff found to be complicit in the coverup of ongoing animal suffering at Envigo. We can’t be certain the reason behind Goldentyer’s subsequent resignation, but we hope it signals positive change within the agency. Read our full letter to Congress here [PDF]. 

It is long past time for the USDA to step up and protect the animals in the facilities it licenses, and to make that happen, your members of Congress need to hear from you. Use our easy online form to tell them to support Goldie’s Act today.