An update on legislative issues impacting the Afghan fancy
An important series of events is unfolding on the National legislative front that has the potential to negatively impact us all.
As you know, the United States Department of Agriculture is tasked with regulating commercial puppy breeders. Their Office of the Inspector General (OIG) just released a scathing report on the lax regulatory efforts of the Department regarding the inspection of some commercial breeders. The OIG report cited graphic examples of cases where USDA Inspectors continually declined to impose fines or other sanctions, or take any further action against certain breeders whose kennels were filthy and riddled with parasites and disease. The report concluded the USDA has to do a better job of inspecting large-scale breeders (referred to as “dealers” by the Department). Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, said his department is taking the report seriously and will immediately move to improve enforcement, penalties and inspector training.
A few published articles noted the reported problems could have been dealt with under current law if regulations had been properly enforced.
The HSUS immediately took advantage of the situation by releasing “I told you so” statements, well-received by media, and vowed to push even harder for more restrictive, punitive laws. The following appeared in Wayne Pacelle’s blog,. “Yesterday's report and legislative introduction should serve as a warning to all -- from "kennel clubs" to pet stores to lobbying front groups who claim to care about purebred dog breeding, but in fact only care about how much money they can make peddling loads of puppies. Your days of abusing dogs for profit while snubbing the laws of this country and many states are coming to an end.”
Naturally, the Animal Rights contingent will use this report and the self-generated uproar in the media to further their anti-breeding agenda. And we will find legislators even more receptive to their message. Legislators can respond to their constituents by introducing/voting for anti-cruelty bills (which earns them votes from the uninformed) or they can increase revenue to enforce existing laws (not as popular with voters). Consequently, Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and David Vitter (R-La.) have introduced the PUPS Act (Puppy Uniform Protection Statute, S. 3424) - a reincarnation of previous legislation—to amend the Animal Welfare Act. This would allow regulation, with licensing and inspection of breeders who sell puppies directly to the public, including over the internet. While not introduced at the time of this writing, a companion bill is expected to be introduced by Reps. Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Bill Young (R-Fla.) in the House of Representatives.