ASPCA Urges USDA to Restore Public Access to Vital Animal Welfare DataUSDA restores some information to website after public outcry
NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) urges the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to repost all of the animal inspection reports and enforcement actions abruptly removed from its website earlier this month The information restored today only includes annual reports of research institutions and inspection reports for certain federal research facilities. It still excludes other vital inspection reports, including those for dog breeders, as well as USDA enforcement actions.
“The USDA’s action today still fails to restore information vital to the welfare of animals,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO. “This doesn't help dogs languishing in puppy mills. It doesn't help advocates who use this information to monitor these facilities. And it doesn't help consumers who want to know more about the breeders who supply their pet stores and online marketplaces. We strongly urge USDA to turn this half measure into a meaningful one by restoring all the rest of the purged information.”
Today’s announcement comes after massive public outcry from lawmakers, animal welfare organizations, media, and celebrities regarding the removal of these materials. Since the USDA’s initial announcement on February 3rd, more than 80,000 concerned citizens have signed the ASPCA’s petition demanding the USDA restore all public documents to its website.
The ASPCA has used the USDA’s inspection reports for years to monitor the commercial dog breeding industry, as well as the USDA’s enforcement of AWA violations. In addition to educating the public on the inhumane conditions commonly found at USDA-licensed breeders, the reports are a valuable tool in passing laws to better protect breeding dogs. Because a recent trend in state legislation has been to enact laws that rely on AWA violations to weed out “bad actors” by prohibiting the sale of dogs from facilities with serious, documented violations, preventing consumers, pet stores and the public from readily accessing this information makes it nearly impossible to comply with these laws and to ensure that they are being enforced.
For more information about the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit http://www.aspca.org.