On Friday, the United States Department of Agriculture closed down a section its website that contains a database of animals that have been mistreated, injured, and killed. The move arrives as Donald Trump is attempting to streamline government agencies, but activists are irked.
For over a decade, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has made information regarding animal cruelty readily available on its sites, such as warnings, settlements, and personal information of the people committing the offenses. But some believe the agency has bowed to requests from those who believe the information is too accessible and could present privacy issues. This decision didn’t sit well with some, including Michael Budkie, executive director of Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, who said some information had already been redacted:
“The documents that they have removed contain virtually no personal information. This is NOT about privacy. Our entire society is going online now. Whether it’s shopping, communicating or banking. What is our government doing? They are going off-line.”
PETA commented on the act as well, saying the “public should not be kept the dark,” regarding these crimes. The documents that were taken down from the database can only be accessed by filing a Freedom of Information Act request, and even that could take a few months.