Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted in Cat Laws | 0 comments

USDA Fails 2010 Audit

Download the USDA Audit Report

See how more than 2,000 tigers went missing in the U.S. from 2004 – 2011

USDA Audit Report 33601-10-Ch

June 2010
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of Inspector General
Washington, D.C. 20250
DATE: June 29, 2010
REPLY TO ATTN OF: 33601-0010-Ch
TO: Cindy J. Smith Administrator Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
ATTN: Joanne Munno Acting Deputy Administrator Marketing and Regulatory Programs Business Services
FROM: Gil H. Harden /s/ Assistant Inspector General for Audit
SUBJECT: Controls Over Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Licensing of Animal Exhibitors
This report presents the results of the subject review. Excerpts of your May 28, 2010, response and the Office of Inspector General’s position are incorporated in the applicable sections of the report. Based on you written response, we are accepting your management decision for all audit recommendations in the report and no further response to us is necessary. Please follow your agency’s internal procedures in forwarding documentation for final actions to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.
We appreciate the courtesies and cooperation extended to us by members of your staff during this audit.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary……………………………………………………………………….1
Background & Objectives ………………………………………………………………4
Background………………………………………………………………………………..4
Objectives ………………………………………………………………………………….5
Section 1: APHIS Inspection of Animal Exhibitors…………………………..6
Finding 1:

APHIS Needs to Strengthen the Inspection Process to Safeguard the Public at Animal Exhibitors…………………….6

Recommendation 1………………………………………………………………13
Recommendation 2………………………………………………………………13
Recommendation 3………………………………………………………………14
Recommendation 4………………………………………………………………14
Section 2: APHIS’ Licensing and Tracking of USDA Exhibitors……… 15

Finding 2: APHIS Renewed Exhibitor’s Licenses to Individuals Not Engaged in Exhibiting Activities ……………. 15

Recommendation 5………………………………………………………………17
Recommendation 6………………………………………………………………17

Finding 3: APHIS Needs to Improve Their Tracking of Licensees That Travel with Their Exhibits …………………..18

Recommendation 7………………………………………………………………19
Scope and Methodology ………………………………………………………………20
Abbreviations………………………………………………………………………………22
Agency’s Response…………………………………………………………………….. 23
Controls Over APHIS Licensing of Animal Exhibitors

Executive Summary

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) administers the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) of 1966, as amended. The AWA outlines minimum standards for the care and housing of certain warm-blooded animals used for research, exhibition, and commerce in order to ensure their humane treatment. APHIS authorizes individuals, carnivals, zoos, circuses, and educational exhibitors to display animals to the public by requiring them to obtain USDA exhibitor’s licenses. Federal regulations require that during public exhibition, all animals must be handled in such a way as to assure the safety of both the animals and the public. APHIS’ Animal Care unit inspects exhibitor facilities based on risk criteria derived from previous inspection results; these criteria include program violations or other noncompliant items
Audit Report 33601-10-Ch 1
1 identified, as well as the presence of dangerous animals, such as a lion or a tiger, at the licensee’s place of exhibition. In fiscal year 2009, Animal Care inspected nearly all licensed exhibitors at least once, and exhibitors deemed to be of higher risk under APHIS’ criteria were inspected more often. Additional inspections are also made to ensure the timely correction of serious noncompliant items documented in previous inspections.2
We conducted this audit to evaluate whether APHIS has controls to safeguard both the animals and members of the public who visit exhibitor facilities. We evaluated animal enclosures and facilities but we did not specifically evaluate exhibitors’ treatment of animals at the sites we visited.3 We also evaluated the corrective actions taken by APHIS in response to recommendations in a prior audit. Since the issuance of our previous report, we found that APHIS had made significant improvements in its controls to ensure that only legitimate exhibitors obtain licenses. However, agency officials also need to strengthen their inspection processes to ensure that licensed exhibitors comply with safety requirements for exhibiting dangerous animals. APHIS officials have acknowledged that they need to establish better guidance for Animal Care inspectors to enable them to more effectively evaluate exhibitor compliance and have begun to take corrective actions.
During this audit, we visited 31 exhibitor facilities to determine whether the facilities complied with APHIS’ safety requirements for dangerous animals, and we questioned safety conditions at 15 of them. For example, at one facility, we found that a visitor could reach across the public barrier and easily insert a hand into an enclosure where a cougar was being kept. Regulations require4 that exhibitors provide either a sufficient distance and/or barrier to keep the public safe, but do not specify what distance or barriers would be considered sufficient. Another exhibitor’s facility we visited still had a tiger enclosure whose features were similar to those at another facility which had failed to prevent a tiger from escaping in 2007, resulting in the death of a zoo visitor. Not only did the inspector at this facility not know the details of the escape, but he wasAudit Report 33601-10-Ch

Add Comment Register



Post a Reply