USDA settles animal care lawsuit
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USDA settles animal care lawsuit

From Science, January 28, 2021

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on 19 January settled a lawsuit by animal welfare groups, agreeing to eliminate a rule that had made it easier for research labs and other animal-housing facilities to avoid citations for animal mistreatment and deaths. Stop Animal Exploitation Now and the Missouri Alliance in Animal Legislation had alleged that USDA illegally promulgated, without public notice or comment, a 2017 regulation that allowed animal keepers to avoid penalties and public disclosure for serious violations of animal care rules, including deaths, if they self-reported them.

The settlement also requires the agency to toughen the definition of quickly correctable violations called “teachable moments” that remain exempt from citations, and to make information about these violations easily accessible on its website. USDA admitted no wrongdoing but must pay the groups $70,000 to cover legal expenses.

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