February 9, 2017
On February 3, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture suddenly took down a website database providing information pertaining to enforcing the Animal Welfare Act. Ask USDA to restore it immediately. The welfare of millions of animals is at stake.
It’s extremely difficult to know what goes on in an animal laboratory. Animal research operates with virtually no public input or oversight, despite being largely funded by taxpayer dollars.
What little information was available to animal advocates was sharply curtailed last Friday, February 3, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture suddenly took down a website database providing information of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. (APHIS).
Send a letter to USDA asking that the database be restored immediately. The welfare of millions of animals is at stake.
If you prefer, you can send your own letter to Kevin Shea, Administrator, APHIS at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call APHIS Customer Service at 844-820-2234 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.
USDA/APHIS’s shut down of the database is plainly unacceptable. It was used daily by large numbers of people and organizations to protect animals. The site covered information that impacts millions of animals –not just laboratories but also puppy mills, roadside zoos and animal dealers. This is information that has the power to impact the welfare of millions of animal and is now missing.
The information removed consisted of a searchable database of reports and documents detailing compliance with the federal Animal Welfare Act. It contained thousands of inspection reports of laboratories, demonstrating areas of non-compliance and follow-up actions. It also contained annual reports, providing information on the numbers and species of animals used in labs, including categories that detailed experiments which were conducted without pain relief.
The database, maintained since 2011, was shuttered without warning, with only the thin explanation of privacy issues. This is odd because the documents it contained rarely divulged privacy information. USDA needed only to remove anything it deemed private rather than takedown the entire site.
CAARE is troubled by a new administration that seeks to limit information and wage a war on truth. The Huffington Post and others reported that Richard Klippinger, a member of President Donald Trump’s USDA transition team, is a known opponent of reforming puppy mills. We can’t allow biases in Washington to impede the free and open flow of information.
In response to public outcry, APHIS issued a new announcement on February 6 stating that these changes are "not final" and that "adjustments are being made regarding information appropriate for release and posting." But this open-ended statement is not enough.
Please send a letter to USDA and tell them you want to see the APHIS database restored immediately.
Every day that goes by without this site means a halt in important work to protect animals. We must oppose this outrageous shuttering of disclosure on animal industries that need more exposure, not less.
Thank you for taking action for animals in labs!
Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research (CAARE), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established to highlight and promote research without animals.
Your donation helps us carry out our mission to speak up for animals in laboratories, and to end animal suffering by disseminating information about the power and progress of research without animals.