Urge the USDA to Shut Down Cruel Breeding FacilityPosted on January 24, 2018
That’s how hot the raccoon enclosure was at a fur farm in New Sharon, Iowa this past July. Raccoons, desperate to cool themselves off, lay panting on their sides, lethargic, and drooling. Over 1,000 animals, including ferrets, skunks, and raccoons, suffer in egregious conditions at Ruby Fur Farm.
Ruby Fur Farm breeds these animals to sell them as research test subjects and “unique” pets. The business has a long history of ignoring the minimal care that the Animal Welfare Act requires. In the past two years alone, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors filed 14 negative inspection reports against Ruby Fur Farm.
Recent reports documented a pattern of failure to provide veterinary care, citing an immobile skunk with green discharge coming from her face (she died two days later), a lethargic ferret covered in ticks, and a skunk with a prolapsed anus. USDA documents also reveal that the breeding facility routinely denies ferrets, skunks, and raccoons veterinary care, humane living conditions, and even clean food and water.
But the appalling conditions are only half the story. Unbelievably, the USDA has spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to buy these animals for use in USDA research facilities. While the USDA’s own inspectors issue reports detailing Animal Welfare Act violations, the USDA rewards Ruby Fur Farm with lucrative contracts.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund submitted two letters, one to the USDA urging it to revoke the farm’s license, and one to the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) requesting that it immediately investigate the USDA’s contracts with the farm in light of the its serious Animal Welfare Act violations.
The OIG must act to address USDA’s clear misuse of taxpayer dollars to purchase sick and abused animals from Ruby Fur Farm for use in research. Further, any research done using these animals is likely invalid—introducing the uncontrolled variables of animal neglect and compromised health status into USDA studies. In other words, the USDA is wasting money, research hours, and government resources by purchasing animals from the farm.
The USDA’s contracts with the facility clearly run afoul of regulations governing federal acquisitions and contracts.
Join us in urging the USDA to revoke Ruby Fur Farm’s license, issue the maximum penalty allowable against the breeding facility for its violations, and end all procurement contracts.