Buchanan Calls USDA Action “Insufficient”
WASHINGTON — Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) said the partial restoration of a government website that exposes animal cruelty was “insufficient and not good enough.”
The government website publicly documents animal abuse in research labs, puppy mills and other facilities.
The U.S. Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service suddenly and without notice removed the online database earlier this month citing “privacy concerns.”
“There’s no reason to hold back this vital information,” said Buchanan, the new co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus in Congress. “This website protects animals and the database should be fully restored. At the end of the day, putting a few documents back online is not good enough.”
The website had posted complaints, official warnings, inspection reports and other information related to the USDA’s monitoring of animal welfare for more than a decade.
Buchanan, along with over 100 other members of Congress, sent a letter to President Trump on Tuesday requesting that the database be “immediately” restored as an important safeguard to prevent animal cruelty.
Animal welfare advocates noted that information that was available on the database was heavily redacted to ensure that personal information was not released along with reports of animal abuse, according to CNN.
The country’s leading animal protection organizations have blasted the surprising and disappointing move. In addition to watching puppy mills, animal welfare groups and journalists used the information to monitor circuses, zoos and research facilities according to the Washington Post.
The database has been used to expose animal abuse in the past, including instances where bighorn sheep and grizzly bears were given harmful doses of drugs and killed, according to CNN.