Today, Dr. Betty Goldentyer, USDA APHIS’s Deputy Administrator for Animal Care, announced that the agency will discontinue the use of “teachable moments” as part of its enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act.
Since 2016, USDA APHIS has documented teachable moments for minor, isolated noncompliances discovered during facility inspections that do not have an impact on the welfare or care of animals. Teachable moments were not used to address noncompliances that directly impacted animal welfare or care, or when dealing with licensees that had multiple noncompliances. Teachable moments provide an opportunity for breeders and other regulated entities to receive APHIS guidance to improve their operations, which benefits the overall care of animals.
However, due to a congressional directive, USDA APHIS will end its use of teachable moments. Starting August 1, 2022, all noncompliances, including minor issues not impacting animal welfare or care, will be cited on inspection reports.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) believes that the use of teachable moments helps ensure compliance with AWA regulations and promotes regulatory and enforcement efficiency, and will advocate for the reimplementation of its use.