New Terms Will Appear on USDA Inspection Reports

USDA-APHIS GovDelivery Header
Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.
Bookmark and Share


With the advent of the new USDA Animal Care Search Tool, located here, members of the public will now see two terms to better categorize the information on USDA inspection reports – focused inspections and critical noncompliant items


Focused inspections


USDA Animal Care conducts unannounced inspections of licensees and registrants regulated under the Animal Welfare Act to make sure they are providing their animals humane care and treatment according to the federal standards and regulations. We conduct three types of inspections – pre-license inspections, routine inspections and focused inspections. 


Each facility or entity that wishes to obtain a USDA license/registration to conduct regulated activities must first pass a pre-license inspection, during which time our inspectors will make sure the facility is meeting all the pertinent Animal Welfare Act requirements. Once a facility passes its pre-license inspection, our inspectors will conduct routine inspections for the duration the facility maintains its USDA license/registration. 


A focused inspection is an unannounced inspection that, for a variety of reasons, does not cover the entire facility. For example, if we receive a public complaint regarding one particular animal in a facility, we will send an inspector to that facility to look into the matter. This is a focused inspection if the inspector focuses on that one animal and other related items, but does not conduct a full facility inspection. We have previously conducted focused inspections, but this term will now appear in the heading on the inspection reports. 


Critical noncompliant items 


When our inspectors document noncompliant items (NCIs) on an inspection report, the facility is responsible for correcting them. 


A direct NCI is a noncompliance that is currently (at the time of the inspection) having a serious or severe adverse effect on the welfare of an animal or has the high potential to have that effect in the immediate future – such as an animal with a broken leg that is not being treated by a veterinarian. A noncompliance that is not designated as a direct NCI is something that is not having a serious or severe impact on the welfare of an animal at the time of inspection – such as a clogged drain outside an animal enclosure. A repeat NCI is something that was cited on a previous inspection report and should have already been corrected. 


Although we have used the critical NCI designation prior to implementing our new Search Tool, this term will now appear on inspection reports. Examples of critical NCIs include:


• all direct NCIs – as well as other NCIs that resulted in serious, adverse impacts on the welfare of an animal (including NCIs that occurred outside of the USDA inspection process);

• a facility that refuses to allow us to conduct an inspection;

• falsified records; and

• engaging in regulated activity with a suspended or revoked license. 


Direct, repeat and critical NCIs may result in more frequent USDA inspections.  



At USDA Animal Care, ensuring the welfare of the animals we regulate is at the heart of everything we do.