HSUS: APHIS ‘budged a little’ in reposting animal welfare reports
February 21, 2017
Humane Society of the United States President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said in a blog post Feb. 17 that the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service had "budged a little" when it reposted some of the animal welfare reports it had removed from its website.
"Today, APHIS is posting the first batch of annual reports of research institutions and inspection reports for certain federal research facilities that the agency regulates under the Animal Welfare Act," the agency said in a statement.
"The reports posted are part of a comprehensive review of the documents the agency removed from its website in early February and are in the same redacted form as before.
"To conduct the review, the entire agency search tool database was taken off line. As announced on Feb. 7, 2017, the agency will continue to review records and determine which information is appropriate for reposting."
APHIS noted that some enforcement records, such as initial decision and orders, default decisions and consent decisions, will continue to be available on the USDA's Office of Administrative Law Judges website.
In a blog post, Pacelle wrote "Today, the USDA budged a little. The agency said it would repost some annual reports and inspection data on animal research facilities, as it is required to do pursuant to a settlement The HSUS reached with the USDA in 2009."
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"But we don't need the USDA to give us crumbs or dribble out some portion of the reports," Pacelle said. "The agency must pursue a policy of full restoration, for the 9,000 or so licensed and registered facilities that use animals — including commercial dog breeding operators, roadside zoos, and other operations regulated under the federal Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act, such as Tennessee walking horse show participants.
"The animal research facilities constitute just one-seventh of the regulated facilities and nearly all of their inspection reports haven't been made available. We need the existing reports for all facilities and all players in every field covered under federal law, and a commitment to post new reports as they are completed by USDA personnel after inspections occur."