Bernadette Juarez, Deputy Administrator, USDA/APHIS/AC
I must insist that you immediately restore public access to the ACIS system which made USDA/APHIS/AC inspection reports, animal use reports, etc. available to U.S. taxpayers. You must also restore access to all USDA/APHIS/AC enforcement action data as well. The people of the United States have a right to know which USDA-regulated research facilities, animal dealers/breeders/exhibitors/transporters are violating the law. Any personal information contained in these documents can easily be removed. Additionally, the USDA statement says that "If the same records are frequently requested via the Freedom of Information Act process, APHIS may post the appropriately redacted versions to its website." I hereby officially request access to all of these documents, the absence of which serves only to protect lawbreakers from public scrutiny.
Trump White House is leaving the public
in the dark. Is it growing pains – or a plan?
By Anita Kumar, McClatchyDC.com, February 3, 2017
Is Donald Trump shutting Americans out of his presidency?
The White House comment line is shut down. New signatures aren’t being counted on petitions posted on the White House’s website. Federal agencies are not allowed to respond to requests.
Americans aren’t just failing to get their voices heard. The administration, too, is failing to provide information to them.
Transcripts, executive orders and news releases aren’t being posted online. Social media accounts, including Flickr, Pinterest and Tumblr, are no longer in use. Sending information to the Federal Register, the daily journal of the U.S. government, is delayed.
On Friday, a national research watchdog group condemned the administration for removing thousands of documents relevant to enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act from the Department of Agriculture’s website. The removed documents included reports on fines, official warnings, inspection reports and annual reports.
“This is clearly a calculated move to protect from public scrutiny criminal entities who regularly break federal laws, endangering human health,” said Michael A. Budkie, the executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, an Ohio-based nonprofit that monitors U.S. research facilities for animal cruelty.
“Even at the height of disagreement this has never happened,” said Maryanne Cottmeyer, 72, a retired federal worker from outside Olympia, Washington, who has called the White House comment line daily since Trump was sworn in, with no success. “They don’t want to hear.”
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