My blood is fucking boiling after reading this disturbing piece from The Washington Post that ran back in August. I don’t know why I’m coming across it only now, but if you care at all about animals, it is extremely upsetting and will make you angry as hell.
More than a dozen former USDA employees, mostly inspectors and veterinarians, have come forward whistleblower-style to The Washington Post about the agency’s new lenient approach under the Trump administration toward industries that abuse animals.
Instead of citing violations of animal welfare regulations and holding those who commit acts of cruelty accountable, Animal Care, the part of the USDA that is tasked with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, has instead been instructed to “work with” businesses rather than penalize them, and use these violations as just “teachable moments.”
One instance included a raccoon farm in Iowa where animals were documented panting and drooling in 100-degree summer heat. The USDA worker inspecting the facility reported the animals were suffering “severe heat distress.” The conditions were so horrific that 10 raccoons were confiscated. USDA inspectors were supposed to come back for the rest of the animals, but instead something unbelievable happened. An industry group appealed the inspector’s decision to take the raccoons to a White House advisor. At that point Secretary Perdue and other senior USDA officials intervened. The raccoons were ordered to be returned to the farm, and the additional seizure of animals was halted.
Sadly, this is all part of a broader attitude by the Trump administration to deregulate industry. As The Post notes:
At the Environmental Protection Agency, fines and other actions against polluters have sharply declined. The Food and Drug Administration is issuing far fewer warnings to medical and pharmaceutical firms. Fines levied by the Department of Transportation against U.S. air carriers, for tarmac delays and other problems, have plunged.
With regard to animals, this disgusting approach towards unfettered business has resulted in USDA-initiated animal welfare citations plummeting by 65 percent since Trump took office. Additionally, enforcement cases, which can lead to penalties such as fines and license revocations are down 92 percent.
But that’s not all. Just a couple of months ago the Trump administration announced that they were effectively gutting the Endangered Species Act to allow businesses to do a cost-benefit analysis on whether certain species are worth saving. Concurrently, 17 states are suing the Trump administration to keep the almost 50 year-old law intact.