What should you report?
Report violations of laws and regulations relating to USDA programs, particularly if you witness or have knowledge of any of the following:
- Criminal activity, such as: bribery, smuggling, theft, fraud, endangerment of public health or safety
- Mismanagement / waste of funds
- Animal fighting crimes
- Workplace violence
- Employee misconduct
- Conflict of Interest
The complainant may remain confidential (i.e., known only to the USDA OIG), allow their name to be used (i.e., included in any investigation that may take place), or anonymous (i.e., unknown even to the USDA OIG). If the complainant chooses to remain anonymous, USDA OIG cannot obtain additional information on the allegation (e.g., testimonial or documentary evidence; identity of witnesses), and also cannot inform the complainant as to what action USDA OIG has taken on the complaint. Confidential status allows further communication between USDA OIG and the complainant after the original complaint is received.
The identity of complainants is protected under the provisions of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and the Inspector General Act of 1978 (pdf).
To process your allegation(s), we will need you to provide as much information as possible regarding your complaint. Your information should include:
- Who committed the wrongdoing (USDA agency, person, organization, description, etc.)?
- What exactly did the individual or entity do?
- Where did the alleged activity take place (address)?
- When did the alleged activity take place?
- How are the individuals involved and how were these individuals able to perform the alleged activity?
- Do you know why the person committed the wrongdoing?
- Witnesses, if any, who can verify the allegations?
Without sufficient information we may be unable to act on your allegation. Therefore, in order to investigate your concerns properly, please provide as much information as possible. We are very interested in the information you have to provide regarding the misconduct, fraud, waste, abuse, or mismanagement in our USDA programs.
Together with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, Dept. of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division lawyers are working to ensure that full effect is given to the federal statutes and enforcement regimes that provide for the humane treatment of captive, farmed, and companion animals across the United States.
The principal federal agency that ENRD represents in this area is the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Where appropriate, ENRD’s Environmental Crimes Section (ECS) brings criminal prosecutions under these laws against, for example, people who are involved in the illegal blood sport of dog fighting. In these cases, ECS works with investigatory agents from the Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other law enforcement agencies.
ENRD’s Wildlife and Marine Resources Section (WMRS) brings civil judicial enforcement actions that support and complement the administrative enforcement actions taken by the relevant federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. WMRS can also pursue civil remedies, such as civil forfeiture in animal-fighting cases.
About the Animal Welfare Litigation Program
If you need to provide any documents concerning your complaint, please fax to (202) 690-2474 or mail to USDA, OIG Hotline, P. O. Box 23399, Washington, D.C. 20026-3399. Please note on your documents that you submitted your complaint online.