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USDA Removes All Animal Welfare Info From Website

Information that would hold SeaWorld, Ringling Bros, and laboratory operators accountable for animal abuse is all gone.

As of this morning, all information about animal welfare was removed from the website of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The site previously hosted information about animals abused under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), and the USDA explains that it removed this information under the pretense of privacy. “APHIS [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] is implementing actions to remove documents it posts on APHIS’ website involving the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and the AWA that contain personal information,” the site now states. The USDA instead directs visitors to file Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain information about animals exploited in the US. “The public has a right to know what the government is doing,” Born Free USA program associate Kate Dylewsky told The Dodo, “and this is a blow to both government transparency and to animal advocates' ability to hold animal abusers publicly accountable.” This action comes the day after the Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing Act (HR 816)—which, if passed, would require laboratories to account for the number of animals they use—was introduced by California Republican congressman Ken Calvert. Last month, the White House wiped all information related to climate change, LGBTQ rights, and healthcare from its website.

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