Activate for Animals – February 2017

You Have the Right to Know

On February 3, USDA blocked access to information about legal cases alleging severe animal cruelty and neglect and shut down its online database that houses thousands of searchable records documenting the care and treatment of animals at labs, dealers, circuses, and other facilities profiting from their use. The public, media, animal groups (including AAVS), and even the animal research community were outraged. USDA responded to this uproar two weeks later, and then again on Friday, by reposting a limited number of animal welfare records that it had previously blocked.

This is not enough and it’s time for Congress to act!

USDA’s database, which has been extremely valuable in AAVS’s work, is still disabled. Further, USDA’s gesture does not include thousands of inspection reports that can document animal welfare violations or any records concerning animal dealers, breeders, or exhibitors. The importance of having public access to this information cannot be overstated, because it provides transparency and helps to keep those mistreating and harming animals accountable.

USDA is funded with taxpayer dollars and we have the right to know how animals are being treated by the facilities it regulates. Congress needs to demand that USDA restore full access to all information previously housed on its website.


In the News

What to Know about Primate Research

With a focus on the National Primate Center at the University of California, Davis, a local reporter investigates the importance of having access to information that USDA is blocking. Such info includes inspection reports citing welfare violations, numbers of primates exposed to unrelieved pain, and lasting effects of research on the animals’ psychological well-being.


Leaping Bunny and Fat Mascara

Program Manager Kim Paschen appeared on Fat Mascara, a fun and quirky, weekly beauty podcast to talk about Leaping Bunny, its cruelty-free certification, and how to be a smart and compassionate consumer. The Leaping Bunny talk starts around the 17 minute mark. Take a listen!


Dissection Choice Bill in MD

At a Maryland Senate hearing about a dissection student choice bill, discussion focused on the benefits of having such a law and how it could help students. Animalearn Director Nicole Green testified at the hearing, along with supporter Donna Bernstein who supported her children in their efforts to learn humane science without dissection. Although it received solid support, it did not pass yesterday’s full Senate vote, but Animalearn will continue to assist Maryland students and educators.