Monday, February 20, 2017

USDA re-posts some animal welfare records

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday re-posted some animal welfare records that had been taken off its website, Lydia Wheeler reports for The Hill. Animal rights groups had criticized the agency's move earlier this month to remove Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act inspection reports from its website. USDA has said removed records would only be available through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

"USDA claimed it removed the records as part of a comprehensive review to balance the need for transparency with rules that protect individual privacy," Wheeler writes. In a statement released Friday the agency said: “The reports posted are part of a comprehensive review of the documents the agency removed from its website in early February and are in the same redacted form as before. As announced on Feb. 7, 2017, the agency will continue to review records and determine which information is appropriate for re-posting.”

Last week animal rights advocates and groups filed a lawsuit "claiming USDA violated the FOIA in removing the records," Wheeler writes. "The law requires federal agencies to provide certain records to the public as a whole and disclose any other records to individuals in response to FOIA requests." (Read more)

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