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Ask Congress to Demand USDA Restore Public Access to Animal Use Data

Ask Congress to Demand USDA Restore Public Access to Animal Use Data

Name: Restore APHIS Online Reporting of Animal Use Information 

On February 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)—without notice—removed from its website virtually all information pertaining to the use of animals in research. This is information is essential to understanding the scope of animal use in our country, and to measuring the implementation of the reduction, refinement and replacement of animals used in research, safety testing and education. It allows animal advocates—like NAVS—to find public records on Animal Welfare Act violations, the number of animals being used for experimentation by individual institutions and other information that is essential to promoting our mission. It is unacceptable that APHIS has violated public trust in withdrawing all traces of transparency and accountability from its website.

 

Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to demand accountability from the USDA.
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Recipients

  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative

Contact

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Message

Restore animal use data--and public accountability--to the APHIS website

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to express my dismay at the sudden action of APHIS in removing its current information pertaining to the use of animals regulated by the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act from its website.

I was shocked to learn that APHIS removed inspection reports, regulatory correspondence, enforcement actions and other information pertaining to Animal Welfare Act -covered animals used for scientific purposes, entertainment and commercial enterprises. A vast majority of animal research is carried out with public funds. As such, the public should have access to basic information on animal use, without needing to file potentially costly and time-consuming Freedom of Information Act requests, which is what the public is now advised to do.

Access to this information is also essential in measuring the effectiveness of the 3 R's--reducing, refining and replacing animal use--as well as for advancing progress toward the development of alternatives that can save animal lives and benefit humans.

APHIS has indicated that it has been reviewing legal requirements regarding privacy on their website for some time, but any decisions regarding privacy should have been resolved PRIOR to dismantling the Animal Care Search Tool, not after it was removed. In fact, a majority of the information available to the public provides names and information on public companies and most--if not all--personal information has been redacted by the agency before it publishes any documents. Additionally, a vast amount of information concerns facts and numbers, neither of which raise concerns regarding privacy.

I respectfully urge you to demand an explanation of this violation of public trust and a return to public access to this vital, taxpayer-funded information.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]