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Boyle Demands USDA Address Animal Abuse Case Backlog

August 3, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13) issued the following statement concerning an inquiry he submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (USDA-APHIS) in March of this year concerning the backlog and delays in enforcing federal animal welfare laws:

“This spring, I reached out to the USDA on behalf of my constituents who are disturbed by cases of animal abuse and neglect in Pennsylvania and around the country. Many such cases involve confirmed violations of our most basic standards for animal welfare – yet the USDA’s investigations of these violent practices were delayed for months, or even years. I was extremely troubled to learn from USDA that there is a backlog of nearly 500 open, uninvestigated cases of animal welfare violations, and that the average time it takes to close such a case is 499 days. I remain committed to addressing this backlog and lack of timely, effective enforcement of federal law.”

Congressman Boyle’s inquiry to the USDA (available here) referenced two specific investigations which have been critically delayed. The first, a Florida company which sells primates for use in testing, was cited in May of 2015 for at least 25 violations of animal welfare regulations. The second, a Pennsylvania farm, was cited in December of 2015 for at least 117 instances of violations. Both cases are still pending internal agency review.