The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced today that as of August 1, 2022, they are halting the use of “teachable moments.”
In 2016 the USDA began issuing teachable moments to roadside zoos, puppy mills, laboratories and other licensed facilities for minor violations. Teachable moments are not documented in official inspection reports.
Critics argued that the policy was introduced as a way to ignore infractions and reduce citations at regulated facilities. The Animal Legal Defense Fund reported that within two years of the introduction of teachable moments the number of reported violations at USDA regulated facilities plummeted by about 60%.
Here’s what the USDA’s announcement means for the animals at roadside zoos: ALL violations, no matter how minor, will be cited on inspection reports. This change is a HUGE VICTORY for the animals as it means stronger enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act at roadside zoos.
Read the USDA’s announcement here: