USDA Ends Controversial “Teachable Moments” Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) notified its stakeholders that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Animal Care (AC) team is ending a controversial program known as “Teachable Moments” that reduced the number of citations issued against non-compliant Animal Welfare Act licensees. As directed by the U.S. Congress, the USDA no longer may use the “Teachable Moments” program instituted in 2016, and effective August 1, 2022, AC inspectors are required to document and cite all AWA non-compliances. Teachable Moments, which was meant to be utilized solely for minor non-compliances, was widely criticized after AC inspectors utilized the program too frequently for serious AWA violations that impacted animal welfare and health.