Last week Wood TV 8, a local news station in Grand Rapids, MI ran an investigative piece prompted by a tip titled “Who is Policing Animal Safety?” The piece focused on R&R Research, a random source Class B dealer that procures animals for research facilities.
Class B dealers are basically animal brokers who acquire dogs and cats from shelters, classified ads, auctions and even theft in some cases, for the purpose of selling them to schools and research institutions for a profit.
These dealers need to be licensed in order to operate, which requires that they follow the animal care guidelines set forth by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). It also requires these dealers to obtain animals from licensed shelters, licensed breeders or from owners who have bred and raised animals on their property and is intended to help prevent lost or stolen pets from ending up in research facilities.
The report highlighted the fact that R&R Research has multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act under its belt, yet the USDA has failed to shut it down. These violations go as far back as 1981 when the owner, James Woudenberg, was using “cervical dislocation and cerebral hemorrhage” as a means of euthanasia. He’s since graduated to more inhumane methods.
The list of violations goes on and on and includes unsanitary conditions, inaccurate record keeping, leaving dogs in freezing temperatures, dead puppies left in kennels, gassing large dogs, leaving sick and injured animals untreated, transporting animals in a livestock trailer by chaining them to the side and so on. R&R Research was also listed in the Yellow Pages under animal shelter and animal control.
R&R Research was also fined multiple times for not holding animals for the required number of days and was cited for illegally sourcing animals multiple times by taking animals off the street and accepting them from people who are not the original owner. They’re currently under investigation.
You may be wondering the same thing the people at Wood TV 8 were wondering. How many violations does it take to get a Class B dealer shut down, and what is the point of having federal regulations and licensing if facilities can continuously break the law and continue to operate.
They also turned to a report by the Inspector General that was concluded in 2010. The report cites APHIS, which is responsible for inspections of commercial breeders and brokers and upholding the AWA, for being lax, inefficient, ineffective, incompetent and disorganized and having untrained inspectors, among other things. It also points out that fines for violations are a joke and are essentially absorbed into the cost of doing business.
The most recent report just reiterates what previous audits of APHIS have found. APHIS is unable to ensure the safety and protection of animals. You can read the entire report here, but there are very graphic photos included within the text.
However, the USDA is still standing by its position that educating the people who run these facilities is the best course …despite repeatedly failing to do so while animals continue to suffer in unspeakable conditions while taxpayers foot the bill.
Sign the petition asking Congress to pass the Pet Safety and Protection Act, which will shut down Class B dealers.
You can watch the video of the news report and send a letter to the USDA asking them to immediately revoke R&R’s Research’s license at the American Anti-Vivisection Society.
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