USDA Hears You!
On February 17, USDA posted some of the thousands of animal welfare records that it had blocked access to earlier in the month. This batch of documents includes inspection reports for certain federal facilities and annual reports disclosing how many and what type of animals are used at registered laboratories. However, it does not include laboratory inspection reports that can document animal welfare violations or any records concerning animal dealers, breeders, or exhibitors. While the release of this information is appreciated, there are thousands more records to which USDA is denying access.
The public has the right to know how animals are being treated at the facilities USDA regulates! Contact USDA and ask the agency to allow access to all documents, reports, and information regarding any legal cases that were previously available on its website.
USDA has shut down its online database, blocking access to thousands of records documenting the care and treatment of animals at facilities profiting from their use. This includes inspections of USDA registered and licensed facilities, including laboratories, dealers, and circuses, as well as other information about legal cases alleging severe animal cruelty and neglect. Having this information publicly available provides transparency and helps to keep those mistreating and harming animals accountable.|
Not only does the public have a right to this information, but the information has proven to be invaluable in AAVS’s campaigns to inform the public and document the problems with the use of animals in science.
USDA claims that the information removed will now be available via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. However, through our extensive experience with FOIAs, we know that they can take weeks, months, or years, while animals may be suffering needlessly.
Investigative journalists have expressed objections and even the animal research community, typically at odds with animal rights groups, has expressed concerns about USDA’s move to block access to information.
USDA is funded with taxpayer dollars and we have the right to know how animals are being treated by the facilities it regulates.