Animal welfare advocates rely on the transparency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to publicly post regular inspection reports on thousands of commercial dog breeding operators, Tennessee Walking horse show participants, roadside zoos, aquariums, circuses, research labs, and other facilities regulated under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Horse Protection Act (HPA).
On February 3, the USDA purged its website of all these reports with no warning or explanation. This outrageous action undermines longstanding consensus about public access to information concerning these laws and frustrates public interest, state, local, and industry efforts to help enforce them.
Animals held in research facilities and puppy mills are shielded from public view, therefore these records are essential to ensure that these dogs, monkeys, rabbits, and other animals are receiving basic care.
The USDA is changing the equation for the worse for animals and the public with this abrupt and destructive…
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