“The USDA action cloaks even the worst puppy mills in secrecy and allows abusers of Tennessee walking horses, zoo animals and lab animals to hide even the worst track records in animal welfare,”
Here's the article from the Legitimate news source: The Washington Post
USDA abruptly purges animal welfare information from its websiteThe U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday abruptly removed inspection reports and other information from its website about the treatment of animals at thousands of research laboratories, zoos, dog breeding operations and other facilities.
The records that had been available were frequently used by animal welfare advocates to monitor government regulation of animal treatment at circuses, scientific labs and zoos. Journalists have used the documents to expose violations at universities.
Seven states currently require pet stores to source puppies from breeders with clean USDA inspection reports, according to the Humane Society of the United States — a requirement that could now be impossible to meet.
|Brutal conditions in Puppy Mills|
“The USDA action cloaks even the worst puppy mills in secrecy and allows abusers of Tennessee walking horses, zoo animals and lab animals to hide even the worst track records in animal welfare,” said John Goodwin, senior director of the Humane Society’s Stop Puppy Mills Campaign, which uses the federal records, as well as state inspection reports, to publish its annual “Horrible Hundred” dog breeding operations that have been cited for welfare violations.
In a statement, Kathy Guillermo, the senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, called it “a shameful attempt to keep the public from knowing when and which laws and regulations have been violated. Many federally registered and licensed facilities have long histories of violations that have caused terrible suffering.”
It is unclear whether the decision to remove the animal-related records was driven by newly hired Trump administration officials. When asked questions about the change, a USDA-APHIS representative referred back to the department’s statement. The Associated Press reported that a department spokeswoman declined to say whether the removal was temporary or permanent.
Advocates for businesses that rely on animals, including agriculture and exotic pet breeders, have long resented government oversight that they say is overly aggressive and influenced by animal protection groups. Last month, Mindy Patterson, the president of the Cavalry Group — which describes its aim as “protecting and defending animal enterprise”– wrote a column accusing the USDA of having “succumbed to the pressure of animal rights extremists.” She said public USDA records had allowed groups like the Humane Society and PETA to vilify businesses by publishing their addresses and photographs of their locations and animals.
The column was published on the website Joe For America, which is maintained by Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, an Ohio man better known as “Joe the plumber” since a 2008 encounter with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama that made Wurzelbacher a symbol of frustrated American taxpayers.