Animals

Members of Congress and constituents unite on animal welfare and transparency

On Friday, February 3, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) removed public animal welfare inspection reports and Animal Welfare Act records from its website. The sudden removal shocked animal welfare organizations and consumers alike, and was called a threat to transparency by open government advocates.

The taxpayer-funded reports contained extensive information about treatment of animals in puppy mills, roadside zoos, and animal testing facilities around the country.

The unexpected decision inspired California native and animal welfare organizer, Jessica Bloome, to start a Change.org petition calling on the USDA and Congress to make the animal welfare reports public again.

In just under two weeks, 155,000 people from every US state and territory signed Jessica’s petition. As Jessica’s petition started to gain traction on Change.org and on social media, elected officials started to take notice.

Three Members of Congress have already issued official decision-maker responses to the petition with action plans on how to restore the USDA documents.

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ):

The absence of this information make it much easier for animal abuse to go unchecked. Earlier this week my senior senator from New Jersey, Senator Bob Menendez, sent a letter calling on the USDA to reverse this destructive move, and restore these records into the public domain where they rightfully belong. I support his and my colleagues’ efforts.

Representative Martha McSally (R-AZ):

In response to the Administration’s removal of animal welfare inspection information from the USDA’s website, I led a letter signed by 100 of my House colleagues calling for its restoration. The bipartisan letter shows not just the importance of this issue on Congress, but to countless people around the country.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR):

I joined 18 other senators in sending a letter to the USDA asking them to restore this critical information immediately […] Enough is enough. To protect animals from abuse, consumers deserve full transparency from the USDA.

Since the November election, there have been few instances of elected representatives on both sides of the aisle coming together with constituents to demand better of the Trump administration. Jessica’s campaign is expected to grow in the coming weeks and you can join her campaign by signing her petition today.

Already signed the petition? Take a few minutes to call your Senators and Representative and ask them to respond to the petition at change.org/USDAreports. Click here to find their contact information.

Written by
Natalie Green
February 23, 2017 4:22 pm