» Who’s side is the USDA really on?

Who’s side is the USDA really on?

On Tuesday, March 24 2015,  I attended the court review challenging the Miami Seaquarium’s license renewal.  Now, I think we can all agree that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is not a very reputable government agency, but there’s nothing like seeing and hearing them up close and personal to really solidify my speculations.

First, let me give you a quick rundown of who they claim to be.  Per their Mission Statement:

“We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.”

The USDA is essentially the umbrella agency to many others they “lead” such as the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS),  which is an agency that also “leads” other departments, one of which is the USDA Animal Care unit:

“a unit within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, upholds and enforces the Animal Welfare Act. This federal law and its associated regulations set the standards for humane care and treatment that must be provided for certain animals that are: exhibited to the public; bred for commercial sale; used in medical research; or transported commercially. Facilities using regulated animals for regulated purposes must provide their animals with adequate housing, sanitation, nutrition, water and veterinary care, and they must protect their animals from extreme weather and temperatures.”

Now, if all I ever did to form my opinion of the USDA was to go by what they have written in this first paragraph, I’d swear they were a highly regarded government agency. However,  I’m one to research other non-bias sources so as to not be blindly brainwashed.

That said, on Tuesday, as I sat in the courtroom, I was very disgusted to hear the USDA adamantly defend their decision to renew Miami Seaquarium’s license, knowing that they are in violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).  2 of the 3 judges even questioned their position, considering their knowledge of  the Seaquarium operating illegally.  However, the USDA stood firm by their decision, as per an apparent loophole procedural law that they have in place allows them to NOT  enforce or verify compliance.

This is where PETA’s general counsel is opposing that decision, stating that the USDA has simply rubber-stamped this license renewal and it should be revoked to uphold law under the AWA.

I don’t know about you, but if that’s how the USDA is “leading” the industries entrusted to them by the government, it’s clear that a total revamp is needed IMMEDIATELY.  Think about it.  This isn’t just about the AWA. The USDA is the same agency that regulates ALL the food that we all consume.  So next time you hear someone say something like “..well _____ is approved by the USDA”.  You should definitely enlighten that person to question it.

From PETA’s Media Department:

[The groups’ appeal was heard in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Miami this morning, where the judges heard arguments that the USDA’s renewal of the Seaquarium’s license—despite knowing that the facility is perpetually in blatant violation of at least three regulations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—was illegal and the license must be voided. Lolita, the lone orca at the Seaquarium, is held in the smallest orca tank in North America—one that’s well below the minimum size required by the AWA—and she has no orca companion or shelter from the sun and other weather conditions.

The appeal is of particular note because of a new development for Lolita: As a result of a petition by the groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service recently granted Lolita the same status under the Endangered Species Act as the rest of her family in the wild, meaning that the USDA is allowing the Miami Seaquarium to abuse a member of an endangered species.

“When the court threw out PETA’s lawsuit, it gave the authorities carte blanche to rubber-stamp license renewals even if they know that applicants are violating federal law,” says general counsel to PETA Jeffrey Kerr. “PETA is pushing for this lonely orca, a member of an endangered species, to have her day in court so that someday soon, she can be reunited with her family in the wild.”

“Lolita is entitled to legal protection under the Animal Welfare Act, and yet the USDA repeatedly renews the license of the theme park that confines her in conditions that violate federal laws,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “ALDF is asking the courts to give Lolita the protection she is due under the law and hold the Miami Seaquarium accountable.”]

I think it’s clear who’s side they’re really on.

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