The Department of Agriculture's Animal Welfare Program

RCED-85-8: Published: May 16, 1985. Publicly Released: May 16, 1985.

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GAO found that: (1) many of the inspectors and regional officials interviewed thought that training was inadequate; (2) the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which is responsible for animal inspections, did not have a formal scheduling system for inspections; (3) USDA did not inspect many facilities during 1983 because of funding constraints and inadequate staff resources; and (4) while APHIS offices generally complied with policies governing timely corrective actions, there were instances where APHIS did not reinspect violators or failed to properly process corrective actions. GAO also found that: (1) while APHIS has delegated inspection quality assurance functions to its area offices, it has not specified a system or procedure for carrying out such functions; (2) inspection statistics compiled by APHIS for management activities and its annual report were not consistent with statistics maintained by its area offices; and (3) the way in which APHIS fund allocation process led to a wide variance in inspection frequencies among area offices.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congress funded the program at least twice since the report was issued without action being taken to increase license fees.

    Matter: If Congress decides to continue funding the Animal Welfare Program, it should consider requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to recover more of the cost of the program from licensees, taking into account what the impact of any increases might be on them.


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