Blackout Over? Congress Demands That USDA Restore Animal Welfare Records

February 18, 2020


Latest Update: February 18, 2020

After many lawsuits by animal welfare groups, including two of our own, and now a law passed by Congress, the USDA was forced to repost the animal welfare records it abruptly purged from its online database more than three years ago. This is just a small step for animals today, as we cannot ignore the USDA’s extremely poor and declining enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. We will continue our work to ensure the USDA is protecting animals under its care and, in the meantime, will be scrutinizing the reposted information closely to ensure it fully complies with federal law.

January 22, 2020

Nearly three years ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) abruptly purged tens of thousands of records related to the inspection of commercial dog breeders, a.k.a. puppy mills, and has continued to block public access to crucial animal welfare records. This information blackout has protected the agency and the businesses it licenses, endangering the lives and well-being of animals.

Thanks to your continued advocacy on this important issue, at the end of 2019 Congress passed a law requiring the USDA to restore purged animal welfare records and to post complete inspection reports and enforcement records moving forward.

The USDA has until February 18 to comply and restore its records. Given the agency’s notorious lack of transparency and history of non-cooperation when it comes to animal welfare, we will be scrutinizing the information that the USDA posts to ensure that it fully complies with the law.

We applaud congressional leaders in both chambers who championed this issue, including Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). For updates on the USDA blackout and to use your voice to help animals, please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.