As the regulatory agency for the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a valuable service to the entire animal world. Petland says it recognizes the dedication of the USDA staff, who devote their careers to ensure animals are being cared for properly and in accordance with applicable laws.
On Friday, February 3, Petland became aware that USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website no longer provided public access to breeder inspection reports. It is Petland’s understanding the decision to remove access is an effort by the USDA to protect the privacy of certain information. While Petland appreciates and respects the USDA’s decision to protect privacy, this decision creates added burdens on responsible pet stores, such as Petland.
“This decision by the USDA places a significant burden on Petland as we must now obtain USDA inspection reports from individual breeders,” Petland President and CEO Joe Watson said. “While we applaud the USDA for protecting licensee privacy, we encourage USDA to find a balance that affords both privacy and public transparency.”
Along with breeder visits, Petland stores utilize USDA inspection reports to ensure they are buying from breeders who meet the company standards. USDA inspection reports are an objective evaluation of the care provided by breeders thus providing pet stores and consumers the ability to differentiate between the best and the worst kennels.