PIJAC Releases Statement on USDA Breeder Policy Change
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) responded to a policy change by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to remove inspection reports and other documents from their website including personal information such as “regulatory correspondence, research facility reports and enforcement records that have not received final adjudication.”
According to the USDA, this information will be accessible via Freedom of Information Act requests. The decision was made after a year-long review of USDA policies.
“In their statement, the USDA made it clear that protection of personal information was a motivating factor in this decision, and we applaud that commitment to their constituents,” said PIJAC president and CEO Mike Bober. “Transparency is key for a well-functioning pet industry, however, so we look forward to working with the USDA to make sure that privacy is properly protected even as legislators, regulators, prospective pet owners and the pet industry have access to critical information.”
PIJAC board chair Laura “Peach” Reid said that the responsible pet industry, which PIJAC represents to legislators and regulators nationwide, “looks forward to working with the USDA to seek an effective balance.”
“Many state and local laws and ordinances rely on USDA reports to verify responsible sourcing by retailers,” Reid said. “Additionally, dog and other pet buyers rely on the USDA to provide reassurance that their pet was responsibly raised.”
“PIJAC urges retailers to self-regulate,” said Bober. “We advise pet stores to request copies of all recent inspection reports be included with any puppies they purchase and to make that information available to prospective pet owners as they seek their ideal companions.”
PIJAC will provide regular updates as it works with affected industry groups and USDA officials to find the best balance for all interested parties.