Administration Pick for the Department of Agriculture Is a Friend of Puppy Mills  

For You

Brandon Wade/AP Images for The Humane Society of the United States

This past election year was a very polarizing time for the U.S. – pushing many people further to the left or right. And as President-elect Donald Trump is filling out his administration, it appears like there will continue to be discord, including with dog lovers.

Trump’s transition site announced the president-elect had picked Brian Klippenstein to lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As the executive director of Protect the Harvest, the organization’s mission is to “defend and preserve the freedoms of American consumers, farmers, ranchers, outdoor enthusiasts, and animal owners.” On the surface, it seems like a lofty and respectable goal, but much of its rhetoric is against the Humane Society of the United States and ASPCA, among other animal-welfare groups. Indeed, one of Protect the Harvest’s objectives is to “inform America’s consumers, businesses and decision-makers about the threats posed by animal rights groups and anti-farming extremists.”

Mother Jones has said Protect the Harvest “seems to exist mainly to troll the Humane Society of the United States.”

And Klippenstein’s organization has done much more than talk – many of its actions are pro puppy mills, or the commercial breeding facilities in which puppies are sold to stores and online, while their parents live a life in a cage. According to Mother Jones, Protect the Harvest has fought to prevent regulation of puppy mills, including requirements that would require “large-scale dog breeding operations” to “provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space.”

“Brian Klippenstein’s appointment to lead President-Elect Trump’s USDA transition team is very concerning to say the least,” Joe Maxwell, senior political director at the Humane Society Legislative Fund, told This Dog’s Life. “Klippenstein, head of the organization Protect the Harvest, supports the extreme caging of puppies in puppy mills that have led the fight to enact constitutional protections for multi-national factory farm interests.”

While Klippenstein’s appointment could foreshadow President-elect Trump’s position on animal care, rights and welfare, organizations will continue their fight to protect the voiceless.

“The ASPCA looks forward to working with President-Elect Trump’s transition team and the next Agriculture Secretary to ensure that federal protections for animals are a priority as the vast majority of Americans expect,” says Richard Patch, vice president of federal affairs at the ASPCA. “We remain deeply committed to working with the new administration to move our federal agenda forward, including banning horse slaughter, improving conditions for dogs in puppy mills, and protecting victims of animal fighting and natural disasters.”