The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) left hundreds of raccoons to suffer in severely cramped cages in suffocating 100-degree heat at a fur farm, even after inspectors and vets visited and reported the horrendous conditions.

According to the Washington Post, a USDA inspector reported that nearly 300 raccoons at Ruby Fur Farm were being kept in cages piled high in a metal building, enduring heat of 96 degrees and above for at least two days in summer 2017. The inspector said the animals were “panting and drooling” in the humidity and were “in severe heat distress.”

The animals were in such a terrible state, the inspectors promptly seized ten of the raccoons from the horrific conditions, and planned to return to remove the rest.

Image source: Washington Post

However, according to former USDA employees, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue along with senior department officials stepped in, prohibiting the inspectors and vets to remove any more raccoons and demanding that they return the rescued animals to the cruel fur farm.

This move is reportedly representative of Trump and Perdue’s policy regarding animal welfare protection, which leans toward “education” rather than enforcement — placing many animals in g danger with a diminished chance of much-needed rescue.

Image source: Washington Post

“How we treat animals speaks volumes about the values we hold as human beings,” Senator Jeff Merkley said in a statement to The Post. “It’s disturbing that the USDA is cutting back on animal welfare enforcement and going easier on perpetrators of animal cruelty.”

“It feels like your hands are tied behind your back,” explains veterinarian Denise Sofranko, who spent 20 years as an inspector. “You can’t do many things you’re supposed to when it comes to protecting animals. You’re seeing inspectors so frustrated they’re walking out the door.”

The number of animal welfare citations issued by the USDA has fallen markedly since Trump took office, from 4,944 citations in 2016 to 1,716 in 2018, a 65 percent decline.

Sign our petition urging United States Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to enforce laws to protect animals and close Ruby Fur Farm for good.

SIGN: Justice for Raccoons Drooling from 100-Degree Heat at Cruel Fur Farm