USDA STILL BLOCKING ACCESS TO WELFARE REPORTS
You love animals, right? Of course you do! We care about what happens to all animals, not just our dog and cat companions, but also the ones we don’t often see, like those in laboratories, commercial breeders, circuses, zoos, and puppy mills. USDA regulates these facilities and the public expects the agency to protect animal welfare by upholding the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). However, USDA is still not allowing access to all animal welfare records and legal documents previously available on its website.
How can we be sure that animals are being adequately cared for and that USDA is doing its job?
Having access to public records, such as those required by the AWA, is important in AAVS’s effort to inform the public on the use of animals in science, but now reliable info is much more difficult to acquire. For example, for years AAVS has monitored random source Class B dealers, which acquire dogs and cats from shelters and sell them to labs, by accessing their animal welfare inspection reports online. However, this information is not available online for certain Class B dealers, including those with a history of violating the AWA.
The reports and documents that USDA is currently making available still have notable omissions and inconsistencies, raising questions about whether information on facilities is complete. The public has the right to know how animals are treated at the facilities USDA regulates. Not only does this provide transparency, it also helps to keep individuals and facilities accountable for their actions.