On August 20, 2012, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced enforcement actions regarding several violations to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and The Horse Protection Act (HPA). Among these was notice that Triple F Farms Inc. had entered into a pre-litigation settlement agreement in connection with alleged violations of the AWA that took place at its Sayre, Pennsylvania, ferret breeding facility in 2011.
The settlement agreement states APHIS is responsible for enforcing the AWA, and it listed 11 alleged violations against the AWA by Triple F Farms Inc. In the agreement, APHIS offered Triple F Farms Inc. the choice of waiving its right to a hearing and paying a penalty of $16,679, or proceeding with a hearing.
The items in the settlement that were in the citation and notification of penalty section included:
< Failing to make appropriate facilities and equipment available to provide adequate veterinary care to animals.
< Failing to have appropriate personnel, who had received adequate guidance in the care of animals, perform major survival surgery.
< Failing to maintain structurally sound enclosures that were maintained in good repair to protect animals from injury and contain animals.
< Failing to provide food that was free from contamination and of sufficient quantity to maintain all animals in good health.
< Failing to make potable water accessible to young ferrets that were learning how to use the facilities’ watering system.
< Failing to keep the premises clean to facilitate animal husbandry.
< Failing to have a sufficient number of adequately trained employees to care for the large amount of animals at the facility.
Dave Sacks, a spokesman for the USDA, said that Triple F Farms Inc. paid the fine in July 2012 and the case is now closed.
“Ensuring the welfare of the animals we regulate is at the heart of everything we do,” Sacks said. One of the ways the USDA APHIS does this is by conducting routine, unannounced inspections of all facilities it licenses.
Since the inspection that cited the 11 alleged violations, the USDA APHIS has conducted two more routine inspections of Triple F Farms Inc., one in December 2011 and one in June 2012. The December 2011 inspection found no violations. The June 2012 inspection cited two alleged violations that were indirect. One involved food storage, which was corrected during the inspection, and the other involved repairs to walls and a door frame, both of which were completed.
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“USDA Launches Investigation Into Ferret Farm,” click here>>
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