You have probably heard of the decision by the First Judicial Department’s Appellate’s Division upholding the lower courts’ decision not to sign orders to show cause seeking the transfer of chimpanzees from one form of captivity to another, under the rejected narrative that writs of habeas corpus should be applied to the chimps because they are allegedly “persons.”

Citing to and relying on the amicus brief filed by Pepperdine Law Professor Richard Cupp, the Court held that animals are not legal persons because they are unable to fulfill legal duties, or to be held legally accountable for their actions.  The Court described and rejected petitioner’s repeated attempts to have courts grant “personhood status” to chimpanzees.

Petitioner has filed four identical petitions in four separate state courts in four different counties in New York. Each petition was accompanied by virtually the same affidavits, all attesting to the fact that chimpanzees are intelligent, and have the ability to be trained by humans to be obedient to rules, and to fulfill certain duties and responsibilities. Petitioner has failed to present any new information or new ground not previously considered. The “new” expert testimony presented by petitioner continues to support its basic position that chimpanzees exhibit many of the same social, cognitive and linguistic capabilities as humans and therefore should be afforded some of the same fundamental rights as humans.

Interestingly, the NonHuman Right’s Project (NhRP) describes the chimpanzees for whom they filed petitions―Tommy, Hercules, Leo, and Kiko―as “clients.” 

This is curious, since, according to New York State’s Rules of Professional Conduct  (yes there are ethical standards for attorneys) there are a number of provisions that call into question whether these chimpanzees should be considered “clients.”

For example, Rule 1.4 requires a lawyer to inform their client of “any decision or circumstance with respect to which the client’s informed consent . . . is required.”  Did or could the chimpanzee “clients” provide informed consent to NhRP to file the petitions?

Also, Rule 1.7 (Conflict of Interest: Current Clients) states in relevant part:

a lawyer shall not represent a client if a reasonable lawyer would conclude that . . . there is a significant risk that the lawyer’s professional judgment on behalf of a client will be adversely affected by the lawyer’s own financial business, property or other personal interests.

Does the NhRP’s interest in and requests for donations related to these petitions affect the lawyers’ professional judgment related to these petitions?

Rule 7.1 provides:

A lawyer or law firm shall not use or disseminate or participate in the use or dissemination of any advertisement that: contains statements or claims that are false, deceptive or misleading . . . [where] such an advertisement may include information as to . . . (2) names of clients regularly represented, provided that the client has given prior written consent . . .

The NhRP advertises the names of four chimpanzees as their “clients.”  There is no indication on the website that the chimpanzees― Tommy, Hercules, Leo, or Kiko―provided written consent for this purpose (nor would it have been possible for them to do so).

It is clear that NhRP believes passionately in its mission statement, to “work for the recognition and protection of fundamental rights for nonhuman animals,” but perhaps they should be more careful about their use of words, like “clients.”

Words matter.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cancer drugs and devices, both for use by humans and pets. Such drugs and devices must obtain FDA approval or clearance before they can be marketed or sold to consumers, so that the FDA can ensure each product is safe and effective for its intended use.

Cancer treatment
Copyright: tashatuvango / 123RF Stock Photo

The FDA is concerned about the marketing and selling of products that have not been approved, particularly because such products may contain dangerous ingredients or may cause harm by negatively impacting beneficial treatments. Often such products are advertised as “natural” or are labeled as a dietary supplement, which may be a tip-off to consumers that the products have not been approved by the FDA.

We invite you to read Fox associate Elizabeth Patton’s post describing the agency’s recent efforts to combat these fraudulent advertising claims. For additional information and guidance regarding FDA-approved drugs for cancer in dogs specifically, see the FDA’s Consumer Update page.

With little fanfare, Connecticut adopted a law authorizing a “separate advocate be appointed to represent the interests of justice” in certain animal cruelty cases involving the “welfare or custody of a cat or dog.”  While there was some concern raised by AKC and other associations before its adoption, the potential impact of this law did not hit home until recently, when a Connecticut court first heard from advocates appointed in a case involving alleged dog fighting, as reported by NPR.

According to Laurel Wamsley, NPR, the law “provide[s] animals with court-appointed advocates to represent them in abuse and cruelty cases, similar to laws that provide for victim’s or children’s advocates.”

Despite that representation, the law is not similar to others providing for representation of children.  In fact, the “Animal Advocat”e law provides only for advocates to “represent the interests of justice” not animals.

In stark contrast, Connecticut’s laws providing for representation of children includes specific language related thereto.

For example, the terms “Guardian ad Litem” and “Attorney for the Child” include specific language directing the advocate to “ensure that the child’s best interests are represented” or to “argue on behalf of his or her client,” respectively.  See In Representing Minors in Connecticut, Judicial Branch, State of Connecticut, 2016,

Guardian ad Litem (GAL) · ‘A guardian ad litem, often referred to as a GAL, is an individual the court appoints, either upon motion of a party or when the court determines a GAL is necessary. The court will consider the appointment of a GAL if the parties are unable to resolve a parenting or child related dispute. In such event, the court appoints a GAL to ensure the child’s best interests are represented during the course of the parties’ dispute. The GAL’s role is different from that of an Attorney for a Minor Child (AMC). The GAL represents the child’s best interests while the AMC represents the child’s legal interests and supports the child’s best interests.’ ‘Guardian Ad Litem or Attorney for Minor Child in Family Matters,’ Judicial Branch publication JDP-FM-224 (New 6/14). · ‘Typically, the child’s attorney is an advocate for the child, while the guardian ad litem is the representative of the child’s best interests.’ Newman v. Newman, 235 Conn. 82, 96, 663 A.2d 980 (1995).

Attorney for the Child  ‘… the attorney for the child is just that, an attorney arguing on behalf of his or her client, based on the evidence in the case and the applicable law.’ Ireland v. Ireland, 246 Conn. 413, 438, 717 A.2d 986 (1998).  ‘The primary role of any counsel for the child shall be to advocate for the child in accordance with the Rules of Professional Conduct, except that if the child is incapable of expressing the child’s wishes to the child’s counsel because of age or other incapacity, the counsel for the child shall advocate for the best interests of the child.’  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-129a(2)(C).

Legislators in Connecticut could have adopted similar language for cats and dogs but chose not to.

Connecticut’s law is therefore apparently significantly different from a law in Zurich, Switzerland, where an attorney was appointed for four years to represent animals in court, according to Leo Hickman of theguardian.

A referendum to extend that law throughout Switzerland was soundly defeated.

Protecting animals from cruelty has been a long-standing commitment in this country as reflected in the animal cruelty statutes passed in every state.  Animal cruelty cases can benefit from expert review, reporting and testimony, which should include veterinary review.  To the extent that the Connecticut law can provide that expertise, it can be a benefit all parties-seeking truth and justice.

American for Medical Progress (AMP),[1]a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting society’s investment in biomedical research,just launched an important new educational tool for the public to see and understand the truth behind modern animal research.  “Come See Our World”  is a digital invitation into the world of “essential animal research,” that provides all those interested and concerned a behind-the-scenes glimpse into world of animal research, with a front seat to view the care that research animals receive.  Without this important research, medical advances in human and animal health would not be possible.

AMP invites you to “[j]oin us for a journey into our world of medical progress and discover the animals that help save lives,” including the following examples:

Mice have long been a model for human disease. Zebrafish provide insights into embryological development as well as human disease.  Dogs and Pigs were integral in the development of insulin treatments for diabetics.  Sheep have provided life-saving advancements for those with cardiovascular disease.  People with diseases like cancer and AIDS now have hope because of research with nonhuman primates. Our pets live long healthy lives thanks to vaccinations and many of the same treatments developed for humans.

From rodents, to primates, dogs and cats, farm animals, aquatic and other animals, this website provides more than pictures of well-cared for animals, it also educates the reader about what each animal contributes to the health of others-humans and animals alike.

I encourage you to visit the website and recognize the heroes these animals have been and continue to be.

[1] The author serves on the Board of Directors of AMP.

Today, lawmakers in Trenton, New Jersey did not have the opportunity to reject an attempted override to Governor Christie’s condition veto of Senator Lesniak’s so-called “puppy mill bill,” one of more than 200 similar laws nationwide orchestrated by the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups opposed to anyone who makes money breeding, raising and selling animals.  The bill, as previously discussed, was chock-full of constitutional violations, that were mostly―but not completely ―cured by the Governor’s veto.

Lesniak, without sufficient votes to override the veto, pulled the bill before the vote.  In a tweet Lesniak published afterward, he said “I held the bill so I can attempt another override at any future Senate meeting until January 10, 2018.” He also posted the names of the Senators who did not support his effort.

Around the same time, ordinances in Morristown and Jersey City to ban USDA licensed breeders from sales to pet stores were considered.  Jersey City voted to reject the ordinance, Morristown did not take action.  Brian Hackett, the Human Society of the United States’s New Jersey Director told the Jersey City Council that all pet stores in New Jersey are purchasing all their puppies from puppy mills since the state limits their sources to USDA licensed breeders.  All USDA licensed breeders, according to Hackett, are puppy mills.  But not according to Lesniak, as previously reported, who, on June 23, 2016 said that sales from USDA licensees to pet stores should be allowed to continue, because these breeders were not the “puppy mills” his original bill had been targeting to eliminate.  (See testimony on June 23, 2016 at the Senate Budget and Appropriations committee starting at 3 hours 3 minutes 24 seconds (3:3:24)).

Perhaps Lesniak should consider a bill that would actually help animals without hurting the people and businesses that treat them humanely.

For example, this state desperately needs an overhaul of the law granting law enforcement authority to volunteer nonprofit groups (New Jersey and County Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).  Walt Kane, of “Kane in Your Corner,” has been spearheading an investigation about the NJSPCA, published on New 12 New Jersey.  The latest installment, in which I was interviewed, aired May 24, 2017, “NJSPCA law enforcement practices questioned.”

Walt obtained records of complaints that had either not been investigated or had no written description of any investigation performed or results achieved.

As I said after reviewing those records, it is long past time that the state shift enforcement of its animal cruelty statutes to professional law enforcement agencies.  Those dedicated and expert in animal health and welfare should be able to assist officers at police and sheriff’s departments by providing that expertise as a special investigator in relevant animal cruelty investigations.  If we are serious about animal welfare, it is time to make that change.

Governor Christie issued a conditional veto on May 1, 2017, amending S 3041 significantly and correcting some constitutional deficiencies in the existing law (New Jersey’s Pet Purchase Protection Act) as well as glaring constitutional violations in S 3041 that ended up on the Governor’s desk.

Explaining his support of efforts to protect New Jersey pet purchasers and require “responsible conduct among pet breeders and brokers” the Governor rejected much of the newly proposed amendments finding that “aspects of this bill go too far.”  S3041 Conditional Veto, May 1, 2017.

[T]his bill would require the Division of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) to engage in costly, and potentially unconstitutional, regulation of pet dealers, breeders, and brokers throughout the country. This bill would also have the unintended consequence of restricting consumer access to pets, even from responsible breeders.

This bill would expand the Act’s burdensome sourcing requirements on New Jersey pet shops to all pet dealers; impose onerous record keeping and reporting requirements on pet dealers; require DCA to post on its web-site United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) inspection reports for breeders and brokers, even though the USDA removed these inspection reports from its own website shortly after being sued in part over privacy concerns; and expose pet shops and pet dealers to a severe “three strikes and you’re out” penalty that could permanently close them for something as innocuous as unknowingly obtaining pets from a source that was cited, but not fully adjudicated, for technical violations in a USDA inspection report which they no longer publish on their own website.

Some of the changes in the Conditional Veto include:

  1. The inflammatory, pejorative language in the preamble has been deleted in its entirety.
  2. The definition of “broker” would be consistent with that term as defined in the Animal Welfare Act and related regulations.
  3. For the most part, the law would apply to those conducting business within the State of New Jersey.
  4. Pet shops and pet dealers within New Jersey remain banned from purchasing from USDA exempt breeders but exempt or hobby breeders are no longer included in the definition of pet dealer.
  5. Most of the draconian provisions and fines for pet stores have been eliminated or significantly amended.
  6. Documentation of and about the dogs and cats sold by pet stores is still required, but those documents no longer have to be plastered on cages. They can either be on the cage or “in a display that is visible and accessible to consumers and is immediately adjacent to the cage or enclosure.”

Importantly, the Conditional Veto requires final adjudications that a source has violated the Animal Welfare Act before banned from selling to pet shops or pet dealers in N.J.  Apparently recognizing that the existing and proposed language impermissibly violates the Due Process rights of pet breeders and dealers, the proposed changes provide:

Pet shops and pet dealers cannot purchase from a pet dealer who ‘received three or more separate, final and conclusive orders for violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act . . . or corresponding federal animal welfare regulations . . .during the five-year period prior to the purchase of the animal by the pet shop or pet dealer.”

Unfortunately, the Governor did not correct the requirement for out of state breeders to comply with NJ Department of Health regulations, an impermissible violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Whether and to what extent the Conditional Veto will be adopted remains to be seen.  The bill sponsor has threatened to override the veto.

Those interested in supporting the Conditional Veto and blocking an override can visit NAIA’s website  for more information.

 

Sometimes it is important to set the record straight.

That is the case here.  New Jersey stood at the forefront in the country of establishing humane standards of care for livestock and poultry for the state.   In 2003, when the rule was originally proposed, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture explained that they were “adopt[ing] ‘standards for the humane raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing, and sale of domestic livestock,’ as well as ‘rules and regulations governing the enforcement of those standards.'”  35 N.J.R. 1873(a)(2003, as mandated by N.J.S.A. 4:22-16.1.

While the rules require minimum standards of care,  the Department acknowledged that “many responsible New Jersey farmers meet or exceed” those standards.  The standards were developed in consultation with the New Jersey Agricultural Station, and involved hundreds of hours of meeting with subcommittees established for each livestock group.  Committee members included state and federal animal health officials, academicians, subject matter experts, farmers, transporters and members of the N.J.S.P.C.A.  As the Director of the Division of Animal Health at that time, I chaired those meetings.

The N.J.D.A., the N.J. Ag. Station and N.J. Farm Bureau had approached legislators requesting the amendment to the animal cruelty statute (N.J.S.A. 4:22-16.1) that mandated the creation of these regulations out of concerns that there was no uniform guidance to either professional or volunteer law enforcement officials who were enforcing animal cruelty statutes with uneven hands across the state.  These rules were necessary to provide:

[r]egulatory authorities charged with the enforcement of animal cruelty rules  . . . measurable standards to help them do their jobs effectively and assist in the training of new inspectors.  These defined standards provide authorities with a baseline to use to determine when animal cruelty occurs.  Application of these standards uniformly, across the State will standardize the criteria under which animal cruelty cases are judged.  35 N.J.R. 1873(a)(2003.

In addition to specific standards for the raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing and sale of: (a) cattle; (b) horses; (c) poultry; (d) rabbits; (e) small ruminants; and (f) swine, they also established “procedural rules for investigation and enforcement actions and [the] use of proper biosecurity protocols.”  Id.   Biosecurity protocols are critical when investigating complaints about animal care “to prevent the spread of infectious or contagious agents on or off farm premises.”  Id. 

Furthermore, because the cause of livestock illness many not be immediately apparent, it is important that any individual who performs investigations be familiar with clinical signs of disease and report any cases of livestock disease or death to the  . . . NJDA as required under N.J.A.C. 2:2-1.5.  Id.

As previously described here, New Jersey was one of the first states to establish comprehensive humane standards of care for livestock and poultry.  At the time, Colorado was one of the few states that had standards for livestock, although not at comprehensive as those drafted by New Jersey.

Well after the rule was adopted and survived legal challenges, the regulations and process used to draft the standards was shared with other states, including, for example, Ohio.  Ohio’s standards were recently heralded as a model to follow for the formation of livestock codes in other states. 

While I agree that the process used and resulting standards adopted in Ohio are a great model, it is important to remember that both started right here in the “Garden State!”

 

A “Good Samaritan” bill, S 3134, introduced in the New Jersey Senate on May 8, 2017 would “provide immunity from civil liability for veterinarians or emergency responders who assist animals at accident scene or emergency.”  Sister bill A4770 was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on May 11, 2017.

Currently veterinarians have immunity for civil damages for rendering emergency care:

Any individual licensed to practice veterinary medicine who, in good faith, renders emergency care to any animal which has, immediately prior to the rendering of such care, been brought to such individual’s attention at or from the scene of an accident or emergency situation or has been discovered by such individual at the scene of an accident or emergency situation shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of any acts or omissions by such person in rendering the emergency care.  NJSA 45:16-9.11

So what do these newly introduced bills do differently?

First, it seems as if the bill sponsors and oversight from the Office of Legislative Services may have been unaware of the existing provisions for veterinarians, since the introduced bills purport to amend  NJ Rev Stat § 2A:62A-1 (2013) a statute titled “Civil immunity for emergency care” and there is no citation to the above-mentioned statute, part of the NJ Veterinary Medical Practice Act.

The provisions for veterinarians in these newly proposed bills appears redundant to immunity already provided.

However, the bills would expand the immunity to all “emergency responders” defined as “a law enforcement officer, paid or volunteer firefighter, paid or volunteer member of a duly incorporated first aid, emergency, ambulance, or rescue squad association, or any other individual who, in the course of employment, provides medical care or other assistance at the scene of an accident or emergency.”

The actual provisions of the bills is similar to the immunity provided for in the State Veterinary Practice Act for veterinarians, namely:

An emergency responder or veterinarian who in good faith renders emergency care to an animal at the scene of an accident or emergency shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of any acts or omissions in rendering the emergency care. Nothing in this section shall exonerate an emergency responder or veterinarian from gross negligence.

It would appear that these bills would provide immunity to emergency responders and veterinarians responding to pets confined in a vehicle during inclement conditions that could be considered emergencies, e.g., excessively high temperatures.

Therefore, while these bills are, in part redundant, they extend immunity to emergency responders and strike an appropriate balance that would benefit pets and their owners.

As recently reported, the NJSPCA has hefty legal fees, averaging nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year, as reported by Kane In Your Corner: NJSPCA refusing to show invoices for legal fees.

But, following an OPRA request for the invoices requested by Kane In Your Corner (“Kane”), NJSPCA first refused to produce the requested documents and later stated that they did not exist-they were allegedly discarded by “the organization’s former treasurer, Frank Rizzo.”

This latest incident followed the agency’s failure to file its required IRS 990 forms for 2013, 2014, and 2015 which resulted in the termination of its non-profit status, as least temporarily.

In addition to these federal requirements, the NJSPCA is required to provide financial (and enforcement) information to the NJ Attorney General and legislature, which it apparently has not provided as required,

Interestingly, Governor-appointed NJSPCA board member David Gaier resigned from the Board, “calling the organization ‘dysfunctional’ and citing its lack of transparency,” as previously reported by Kane In Your Corner.

Gaier resigned after learning from Kane about the organization’s failure to file the IRS financial reports, several months after the fact.  Gaier’s observations about the NJSPCA are remarkably similar to those identified in the 2000 State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation (“SCI”) report-Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

According to Kane, Gaier noted:

the NJSPCA ‘lacks proper public oversight and accountability,’ adding, ‘the very concept of a non-profit law enforcement agency is unworkable, even absurd, and the result is an organization mired in controversies and lawsuits.’ Gaier says he believes the NJSPCA needs to be ‘reconstituted as a proper state agency with genuine government oversight, transparency, and new leadership, or it should be dissolved.’

The SCI report found:

[d]espite its reputation for advancing innovative animal welfare and control programs, New Jersey remains mired in an archaic legislative scheme that places the enforcement of animal cruelty laws in the hands of unsupervised, volunteer groups of private citizens. The 1868 and 1873 laws that created the New Jersey and county Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arose at a time when law enforcement agencies were in their infancy and the enforcement of laws was entrusted frequently to private citizens. Today, the SPCAs represent a rudimentary system that has not kept pace with the state’s advancements in law enforcement or its interest in the welfare of animals. Against the backdrop of a highly stratified and professional law  enforcement system, it is an anomaly that the state continues to empower organizations of private citizens to carry weapons, investigate criminal and civil conduct, enforce laws, issue summonses, effect arrests and obtain and execute search warrants. The issue is no longer whether or how to fix this errant group of self-appointed, self-directed and uncontrolled entities, but whether to eliminate the archaic system entirely. The Commission concludes that the time has come to repeal the government authority vested in the SPCAs and place the function of enforcing the cruelty laws within the government’s stratified hierarchy of law enforcement. Those who are truly devoted to animal welfare may continue that effort by forming humane  organizations or participating in the numerous groups already in existence.

Currently there are several proposed bills that would provide for greater accountability of the NJSPCA to government entities.

  • A706/S1429 would require accountability of the NJSPCA and county societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals to the NJ Attorney General and county prosecutors; and
  • A707/S1427 would change the membership of, and election process for NJSPCA board of trustees.

Notably, in Bergen County the county prosecutor already requires accountability and reporting for all SPCA-related activities.  Expanding that requirement throughout the State is attainable and would enhance the role that professional law enforcement agencies have in protecting the animals throughout New Jersey.

 

 

The recent horrific attacks in Syria reminded me of the concerns following 9/11 about potential attacks on livestock and poultry.  Those concerns rose to the highest echelon in our government and others, exemplified by the first International Symposium on Agroterrorism, held in Kansas City, Missouri on May 5, 2005.

I attended that meeting and was awestruck by the opening video-a poignant memorial to the farmers and others involved in agriculture from across the country, highlighting their back-breaking work that feeds and clothes everyone in the United States, and much of the world.  I would love to see that video again-if anyone has a link, please share.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III greeted the attendees, describing the unique challenges involved in distinguishing intentional acts of agroterrorism from natural disease outbreaks:

This distinction is important. If a car bomb explodes outside of a building, we know the attack was intentional. But if a cow contracts Foot and Mouth Disease or a soybean plant exhibits rust, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether the attack was intentional or occurred naturally.

Director Mueller highlighted the federal, state and local public-private efforts then recently adopted and deployed to investigate a potential threat:

Several months ago, the State Department received an anonymous tip that an unknown individual had threatened to introduce a virus to a large pig farm in Kansas. The State Department passed this information to the Secret Service, which notified one of its agents in Kansas. This agent was part of the FBI’s local Joint Terrorism Task Force. Together, we got the investigative ball rolling.

We coordinated with a local veterinarian, the USDA, and the FDA to assess the threat. Working with INS and local law enforcement, we found this man and questioned him. As it turns out, he had recently returned from South Africa, and it was possible that he could have transported a virus with him.

In the end, this investigation turned out to be a poison pen letter. The man we questioned had no intention of spreading a damaging virus. But because of our established networks, we were able to quickly assess the threat and move to prevent any attack.

In 2008, the FBI, Department of Justice and USDA published the “Criminal Handbook for Agroterrorism,” which “represent[ed] a joint effort of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Counterterrorism Division; the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations; the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition; the Department of Homeland Security; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General.”

The handbook was considered important since “[a]n attack against the food or agriculture sector . . . requires a high level of cooperation . . .  to identify . . . the threat, prevent . . .the spread of the disease or further contamination of a food product, prevent . . . public panic, and apprehend . . . those responsible. Lack of mutual awareness and understanding, as well as the absence of established communication procedures, could hinder the effectiveness of joint law enforcement investigations. Due to the continued likelihood of attacks against the U.S. food and agriculture sector, the effective use of all resources during an incident will be critical to ensure an efficient and appropriate response.”

Protecting the food supply in this country remains a priority of the FBI, according to Mollie Halpern (not a relative), explaining:

One way the FBI ensures the safety of the nation’s food from farm to fork is through agroterrorism workshops. Our 56 field offices across the country host these workshops, which bring together the public and private sector—such as farmers, law enforcement, federal regulatory agencies, and academia. Supervisory Special Agent Kelly Decker says outreach, liaising, and awareness are the best defenses against agroterrorism.

USDA has continued its efforts to protect the nation’s food supply.  The Office of Inspector General at USDA published a report in March 2017, “Agroterrorism Prevention, Detection, and Response

“to evaluate if USDA’s [Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination’s] OHSEC had developed and communicated effective plans and procedures to prevent, detect, and respond to agroterrorism threats.”

The OIG recommended:

Development and implementation of written processes to effectively oversea USDA’s agroterrorism prevention, detection, and response activities;

Development and implementation of a comprehensive process to track USDA’s compliance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-9; and

Improvement of the process used to create the Sector Specific Plan (SSP).

The recommendations were largely accepted and will hopefully be completed before they are needed.