It’s no secret that universities work to keep the ugly truth about the things they do to animals and about their violations of the Animal Welfare Act a secret, but their desire to sweep the dirt under the rug got a lot easier at the start of the year.
Activists and organizations around the country relied on access to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s on-line database to learn about universities’ violations and the number of animals that are being used and consumed.
Also purged were inspection reports and animal census data from zoos, circuses, and large-scale breeders.
Rumor has it that with the change in the administration, long-time critics of regulations limiting what one can do to an animal were given administrative positions in the agency; their first step was to hide the details and to make it harder for those of us who care about animals to learn about the violations that are occurring across the country all the time. There is also evidence that horse breeders and trainers involved in soring threatened to sue APHIS for documenting the terrible things they do to horses.
APHIS has a history of bending to pressure from the animal abusing industries, so with the change in the administration, they may have used the “threat” as a reason to get rid of a lot more than just the inspection reports of the horse breeders.
In any case, as far as we know, no university has chosen to put the deleted documents concerning their own USDA inspections on line and make them available to the public. In the case of UW-Madison, they have said many times in the past that they aren’t secretive and don’t try to hide details about their animal use and violations from the public. But they have simply hunkered down and kept quiet.