Taxpayers Should Not Have to Pay for Animal Abuse
President Trump wants to shrink the government. The White House is even seeking the public’s opinion on which government agencies and programs to reform or eliminate. If the administration is serious about cutting waste, there are several US Department of Agriculture programs that are not only wasteful but also encourage animal abuse and neglect. Taxpayers should not stand for this!
Please sign your name to this petition urging President Trump to stop
- Rewarding practices that promote disease: During 2014 and 2015, nearly 50 million birds were killed as a result of bird flu. A majority of these birds were packed into inhumane, unsanitary housing known to contribute to the mutation of the disease. The USDA spent $690 million to reimburse producers and dispose of birds despite the fact that reckless practices and poor biosecurity may have led to the introduction or spread of the disease.
- Funding animal neglect: The USDA compensates producers for animal deaths caused by adverse weather. For instance, the department issued payments of over $134 million (covering the deaths of 2.5 million animals) in 2013-2015. Farm animals in the United States are routinely left with inadequate protection from severe weather, and compensation is provided even if producers do not attempt to protect their animals from the elements.
- Experimenting on animals without proper oversight: In 2015, the New York Times published an investigation that exposed cruelty and neglect at a USDA-funded research facility. The facility conducts experiments intended to increase productivity. According to the Times, animals died of preventable causes, including 6,500 who starved to death.
- Killing wildlife—and pets—indiscriminately: The USDA allocates millions of dollars each year to indiscriminately kill animals, employing cruel, ineffective, costly, and outdated methods, including steel-jaw leghold traps, poisons, gas, and aerial gunning, all while ignoring effective, humane, and cost-efficient alternatives.
It is possible to reform these programs to make them less costly, more equitable, sustainable, and humane, while increasing the efficiency of the federal government in the process. By signing this petition you are telling President Trump you do not stand for tax-funded animal abuse and that you want to see higher-welfare alternatives come to fruition.
Thank you for soliciting advice on how to improve government programs. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has several program that are wasteful, and encourage animal abuse and neglect.
1. Bird Flu Indemnity Program: During 2014 and 2015, nearly 50 million birds were killed as a result of bird flu—a majority of which were packed into unsanitary housing known to contribute to the disease. The USDA spent $690 million to reimburse producers and dispose of birds, despite the fact that poor biosecurity may have led to introduction or spread of the disease. Thus, the USDA compensates producers even when their practices foster the very disease the USDA is paying to eradicate.
Resolution: Modify the current indemnity program to require 1) regular third-party audits for compliance with biosecurity protocols, 2) emergency plans for humane euthanasia of birds exposed to bird flu, and 3) a sliding scale of compensation based on the level of crowding in poultry houses.
2. USDA Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP): LIP reimburses farmers for animal deaths caused by adverse weather. Compensation is provided even if producers did not attempt to protect their animals—a situation that undermines the financial incentive for producers to care properly for their animals. According to the Humane Farming Association, from 2013-2015, LIP paid $134 million to producers after they lost 2.5 million animals due to adverse weather.
Resolution: The USDA should only compensate producers that have put protections in place to shelter animals and have developed emergency plans for animals raised indoors and outdoors.
3. Agricultural Research Service (ARS)-funded research: In 2015, the New York Times published an investigation that shed light on cruelty and neglect at an ARS-funded research facility. The facility did experiments intended to increase productivity. According to the Times, animals died of preventable causes, including 6,500 who starved to death.
Resolution: This type of research must be halted. As long as it continues, however, the USDA must ensure that farm animal research centers adhere to minimum standards of humane care.
4. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services: APHIS allocates millions of dollars each year to indiscriminately kill animals, employing ineffective and costly methods, including steel-jaw leghold traps, poisons, and gas, all while ignoring effective and cost-efficient alternatives. Moreover, these practices may harm humans and pets: one of the program’s devices—known as M-44 “cyanide bombs”—has a history of killing pets and injuring people who come into contact with them.
Resolution: Cut the program’s operating budget in half to begin to hold APHIS accountable for its wasteful spending.
Countless public opinion surveys show that American consumers want animals to be treated humanely. Most would consider the spending of government money on these programs wasteful and unnecessary. It is possible to reform the programs to make them less costly, more equitable, sustainable, and humane, while increasing the efficiency of the federal government in the process.
Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) started this petition with a single signature, and now has 10,722 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.