Animal welfare reports redacted, no more

Today The Scientist reported an action from the U.S. Congress that startled me. The story, “USDA Ordered to Publish Complete Animal Welfare Reports,” tells us that “In 2017, the agency began posting redacted records, but Congress is now demanding full transparency.”

The startling aspect is that the Congress is doing the right thing. I never would have believed it from Trump, nor the GOP Congress. To quote the two first paragraphs:

Congress has ordered the US Department of Agriculture to resume posting complete animal welfare reports, according to the 2018 federal spending bill that President Donald Trump signed into law today (March 23).

In the bill, lawmakers note that in 2017, the agency blacked out a database online called the Animal Care Inspection System, which provided information on animal welfare and also actions by the USDA to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. Legislators noted the agency’s claim that it needed to conduct a comprehensive review of the information on it website, but that may not have been the complete story: A legal battle over charges of animal cruelty toward Tennessee walking horses may have driven the agency to take down enforcement records related to horses and dogs, according to The Washington Post.

The Scientist is an important journal; look it up if you haven’t yet.

—  Ken Pimple

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