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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 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 random records concerning AWA animal use, no HPA records have been reposted. This legislation would mandate the return of all regulatory records under the AWA and the HPA in a user-friendly searchable database.

The lack of transparency by the federal government on how animals are used and reports on inspections of individual licensees not only violate the public trust, but they block the progress of animal advocacy groups, like NAVS, that need this information to move forward on many projects and campaigns.   


Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative and urge them to support this important piece of legislation.
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Bring Back Public Accountability and Transparency for USDA Records

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing in support of the Animal Welfare Accountability and Transparency Act, HR1368 and S 503. This legislation would again make 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.

The withdrawal of public records from the public will increase the costs to the government as individuals and groups that rely on this information are forced to file individual requests under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain these records. Fulfilling these requests takes time and costs the government money. An online search tool is a faster and easier method of providing this information to the public.

In addition, some state laws require pet sellers to check these records before purchasing animals from licensed breeders, including whether a breeder has a license and whether there have been violations charged against that breeder. Pulling these records out of circulation has created a hardship and uncertainty for prospective sellers who can no longer check on the reliability of animal breeders licensed by the AWA.

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

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