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Restore Transparency of USDA Records on Animal Use

Restore Transparency of USDA Records on Animal Use

Name: Animal Welfare Accountability and Transparency Act

Bill Number: S 503/HR 1368

In February, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) abruptly removed its searchable database containing information on licensees and licensee records required by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Horse Protection Act (HPA). These records included inspection reports and enforcement actions taken by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). While the USDA has reposted some records concerning AWA animal use, and HPA records, the ability to search these records is severely limited. In addition, inspection reports on private research companies have been stripped of their information to the extent that it is impossible to identify from those records the companies who are committing violations of the law. This legislation would mandate the return of all regulatory records under the AWA and the HPA in a user-friendly searchable database.

This lack of transparency not only violates the public trust, but also blocks the progress of animal advocacy groups, like NAVS, that need this information to move forward on many projects and campaigns.  Progress on this legislation has been slow and we need a push to encourage more sponsorship in order to move forward.

 

Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to become sponsors of this important piece of legislation.
  2. Spread the word! Share this page with your social network.

 

Recipients

  • Your Senators
  • Your Representative

Contact

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Message

Bring Back Public Accountability and Transparency for USDA Records

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask you to join in sponsoring the Animal Welfare Accountability and Transparency Act, HR1368 and S 503. This legislation would again make searchable publicly-available records under the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act that were abruptly removed from the U.S Department of Agriculture's website earlier this year. The public records on licensees under these Acts--including annual reports, inspection reports and any enforcement action taken--involve businesses, which do not have any entitlement of privacy under federal law.

While some AWA and HPA records have been restored to the USDA's website, these records are difficult to search, and the excessive redacted information makes identifying violators of the AWA unidentifiable. In order to obtain more detailed information, individuals and organizations must submit Freedom of Information Act requests, which results in increased costs to the government in fulfilling these requests. An efficient online search tool is a faster and easier method of providing this information to the public.

Please sponsor this legislation that restores accessibility and transparency to records that should, by law, be available to the public.

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