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Dear Lucas,

It’s the USDA’s job under the law to conduct routine, unannounced inspections of the animals and conditions at certain federally licensed animal facilities. But now the agency is suggesting someone else could do the job, opening up the door to non-governmental, self-interested trade groups to take over this critical function.

Under this bad proposal , the USDA could allow for-profit businesses that often exploit and exhibit animals, including puppy mills, research labs and zoos, to essentially police and “inspect” themselves. It sounds like a joke, but it’s not.

This would be a disaster for the animals living in these facilities. These third-party companies have no authority or accountability, meaning more of America’s most vulnerable animals will be left to suffer in silence at the hands of the federal agency meant to protect them. The USDA is hosting a public comment period on this issue right now, and your voice is needed to make sure this proposal is rejected. Please visit ASPCA.org right now to submit a comment to the USDA telling the agency to do its job and protect the animals under its authority.

This is just the latest in a string of instances of the USDA putting corporate interests ahead of animal welfare. Enough is enough. We only have until March 21 to make our voices heard, so please speak up today.

On behalf of our nation’s vulnerable animals, thank you.