PETITION TARGETS: Congress
Food crawling with insects, cages accumulated with feces, dozens of gentle Beagles with dog fighting wounds — those were just some of the violations that inspectors with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documented at the Envigo breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia.
But there were no fines, no warnings, and no penalties, despite USDA inspectors noting over 60 violations in less than a year — including serious issues like failing to provide adequate vet care, killing dogs without anesthesia, underfeeding nursing mother dogs, and failing to document the causes of death for hundreds of puppies.
Now, a new bill seeks to ensure that repeat offenders who don’t meet minimal animal welfare standards will be held accountable for their actions. The Better Collaboration, Accountability, and Regulatory Enforcement for Animals Act, or the Better CARE for Animals Act, would give the U.S. Department of Justice the same enforcement ability as the USDA to ensure animal welfare — including to revoke licenses, issue fines of up to $10,000 per day, and remove and relocate suffering animals from violators.
In May 2022, USDA inspectors noted a single violation at the Envigo facility in Cumberland— faulty flooring. Two weeks later, federal agents with the Department of Justice swooped in and reported 446 dogs in “acute distress” who were in need of immediate veterinary care. The DOJ also ultimately secured the rescue and release of 4,000 suffering Beagles when the facility permanently closed.
Sadly, Lady Freethinker’s own investigations into USDA-licensed facilities show Envigo’s facility is not alone in racking up serious violations with seeming impunity. Another tragic example is Blue Ridge Kennel, a dog food research facility in Alabama that continues to operate despite 75 violations since 2015 — including inspector reports of numerous “critical” issues and dogs with rotting teeth, untreated masses, open wounds, and a lack of proper veterinary care.
Animals suffering in federally licensed facilities deserve all the federal help they can get. Congress must fully authorize the Department of Justice to step in on behalf of suffering animals.
Sign our petition urging Congress to prioritize passage of the Better CARE for Animals Act and so help save countless lives.