The HSUS challenges USDA over mass removal of animal welfare records

By on February 6, 2017 with 96 Comments

There’s an outpouring of anger and mistrust about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s abrupt decision late last week to delete from its website inspection reports on some 9,000 licensed facilities that use animals, including commercial dog breeding operators, Tennessee walking horse show participants, roadside zoos, animal research labs, and other operations regulated under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Horse Protection Act (HPA). Today, The HSUS took the first step to initiate legal action to challenge this outrageous action that undermines longstanding consensus about public access to information concerning these laws, and frustrates state, local, and industry efforts to help enforce them.

The HSUS sued the USDA in 2005 over public access to AWA reports concerning animal use in university and other laboratories. That case was settled in 2009 in exchange for the USDA’s agreement to post certain data on its website concerning research on animals. The agency’s precipitous decision to purge virtually all AWA and HPA enforcement documentation – just two weeks after President Trump assumed office — violates the plain terms of the settlement and a federal court order. It also runs contrary to Congressional provisions in 1996 and 2016 designed to increase transparency and electronic access to information.

Under the order, once we file a notice of a violation, the parties must consult for 30 days to try to resolve the dispute. If that is not successful, the agency can be ordered to comply or be held in contempt. The prior lawsuit only covers some of the vast corpus of important enforcement data the USDA has scrubbed from its website. We hope this mandatory consultation period will give the USDA a chance to reconsider this ill-advised and precipitous maneuver across the board.

There is more than just a principle of transparency and good government at stake here. These documents are essential to a wide range of matters of direct interest to The HSUS, dozens of other animal welfare groups, state and federal lawmakers and regulators, regulated businesses, and many other stakeholders who rely upon the records of a public agency. Like every federal agency, the USDA operates thanks to the generosity of taxpayers, and it must be accountable to them. The USDA is changing the equation for the worse for animals and the public with this action. Let me break that down in very practical terms.

Puppy mills:

In a piece published last month in Rolling Stone titled “The Dog Factory: Inside the Sickening World of Puppy Mills,” writer Paul Solotaroff described horrific violations at puppy mills, many of which are licensed and inspected by the USDA, but still violate the Animal Welfare Act repeatedly. One Iowa breeder threw a bag containing dead puppies at his USDA inspector. Another Iowa breeder threatened to stab his inspector with a syringe, after the inspector cited him for shooting and killing one of his dogs. These violations only came to light due to the USDA’s online database of puppy mill inspection reports.

Last year, the USDA revoked the licenses of nine horrific puppy mills, most of which The HSUS had identified repeatedly in our annual Horrible Hundred reports. They include Jinson Kennels in Missouri (owned by Wilma Jinson), which was repeatedly found with dead dogs or puppies on its property; Rabbit Ridge Kennel in Missouri (owned by Donald Schrage), which failed to get proper care for more than 90 dogs and puppies over a period of many years; and the facility of Dwayne Hurliman in Oklahoma, one of the largest puppy mills in the country, which once had more than 1,000 dogs. Without the availability of public inspection records, The HSUS would have had great difficulty obtaining the information we needed to press the agency on these cases.

Thanks to The HSUS’s efforts, and the work of thousands of grassroots advocates, seven states bar the sale of puppies from mills with a history of gross violations of the Act. The USDA’s decision to wipe its website clean of inspection reports leaves regulated dog sellers in those states with no practical way to comply with those laws, and state and local law enforcement with almost no ability to enforce them. Without ready access to information, it will be nearly impossible for consumers, law enforcement agencies, policymakers, and pet stores to know which breeders had violations.

Animal research:

Tens of millions of animals are used in research, testing, and education every year in the United States. The public will no longer have ready access to information about hundreds of animal research institutions, including universities, pharmaceutical companies, and federal laboratories using animals regulated under the AWA. This includes information on the number and type of animals (such as dogs, cats, primates, and other species) used as well as how many are subjected to unrelieved pain and distress and the corresponding justification -– information that each facility is required to report annually. Instead, The USDA says the information must be obtained via submission of written FOIA requests which usually take many months or even years to process, and often at a substantial cost to the requester.

Horse soring:

This is a second punch in the gut by the Trump administration to horse protection advocates fighting the criminal behavior of the pain-based Big Lick segment of the walking horse industry. The new administration earlier froze a near-finalized USDA rule to crack down on the abusers (there’s a major movement in Congress to turn that around). The denial of real-time access to information about offenses committed under the HPA will frustrate efforts to show the extraordinary violation rates for horse show participants – a data set that has made it clear that this segment of the industry is openly, routinely defying federal law. What’s more, the wiping away of these records from the Internet will hurt the effort by legitimate horse owners to shun the abusers. Many walking horse enthusiasts and newcomers who do not sore their horses or approve of soring use this information as a resource to see who they should select or not select as a trainer, as a breeder, or as a co-owner of a horse, or while purchasing a horse. During The HSUS’s investigation into soring at Thorsport stables in Murfreesboro, Tenn., we discovered that Vida Blue – one of the horses trained and sored at Thorsport – was owned by Gayle Holcomb, who had a minimum of 10 HPA violations from 2010 to 2015. We found Holcomb’s soring history on the publicly-available USDA database that the new administration has now made disappear.

Exotic animals and roadside zoos:

The HSUS has tracked violations from inspections of roadside zoos, and has put that information in a form that gives state and federal lawmakers and regulators a broad picture of how this industry is complying with the AWA. Officials in a Tennessee county, for example, halted plans for a new drive-thru safari park after discovering the exhibitor had many AWA violations at another location. Our petition to the USDA to prohibit public contact with bears, big cats, and primates relied on historical abuses documented by federal inspectors of exhibitors engaged in these harmful practices. This morning, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which has a rigorous accreditation program and which shares our concerns about roadside zoos, called on the USDA to restore the inspection reports on its website. “When the Department of Agriculture decided to take all animal welfare inspection reports offline, there is no doubt some APHIS licensees were very happy: Those who have no desire for the public to know about their animal welfare record,” said the Honorable Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the AZA.

Brian Klippenstein, the director of Protect the Harvest – an explicitly anti-animal welfare group formed specifically to fight The HSUS – is leading the transition team at the USDA. Shielding animal abuse records from public view is a long-held ambition of that organization which defends puppy mills, roadside zoos, horse sorers, animal fighters, and others with something to hide when it comes to animal cruelty and suffering. Forrest Lucas, the founder and financier of Protect the Harvest, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight Prop B in Missouri – an anti-puppy-mill ballot measure – and worked to finance a repeal effort when Missouri voters approved it. Last year, Klippenstein was up in Massachusetts, campaigning against Question 3 in Massachuetts – to no avail, with voters approving the measure by an overwhelming 78 percent. Lucas donated a quarter million dollars to fight Question 3.

This withholding of information that the American public has a right to see appears to be an inside job at the USDA – with the head of the Trump transition team probably directing the show. You’d think that USDA would want the work of its field personnel to be examined and used by the public. But this action suggests a deliberate effort to bury its work and impede efforts to ensure the well-being of animals in numerous sectors. The HSUS will continue to pursue this matter until public access is fully restored. Please sign our petition urging the USDA to stop hiding animal welfare records and covering for abusers.

Categories
Companion Animals, Equine, Farm Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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96 Comments

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  1. Christina Leclair says:

    Transparency on the government’s part is essential for the welfare of so many animals………I am praying all the documents removed will be available again…….

    • Randy Macht says:

      I completely agree with you Christina.

    • Jo Singer says:

      Just another one of Trump’s administration to remove vital information from us. This is a horrific disgrace. Perhaps this has something to do with changes in the protection of farm animals and the rules for humane treatment which have been somewhat in place. He is a monster. .

      • Tess Kay says:

        There is a huge gap between Trump and what the outgoing or new head of the USDA may have done. Take a deep breath and do something constructive like contacting your representatives with your opinion on this matter.

        • Candace says:

          I agree with you and plan on writting letters and trying to make some calls if that’s possible. It doesn’t seem right that the same person who has been donating to small community rescue groups even here on long island NY and all the money he continues to donate to aspca would be the one behind endangering the animals he’s been donating to for help.

  2. Enid Tallmer says:

    Yes. Now more than ever we must be vigilant and speak for those who have no voice.

  3. Patricia Tamagini says:

    We have a moral obligation to protect animals that cannot protect, nor speak for themselves.

  4. Patricia Tamagini says:

    We have a moral obligation to protect and speak for those innocent, sentient animals that cannot protect nor speak for themselves.

  5. Barbara says:

    Shame on you. Karma is a bitch and comming for you!

  6. Carol Goodman says:

    Horrifying. Going backwards with every traditionally disenfranchised living inhabitant of theplanet

  7. Leslie Davies says:

    Eight cities in San Diego County have justified passing ordinances banning stores from selling animals from puppy mills, based on information easily obtain from the USDA website. Consumers no longer have access to information about the TRUE source of a pet store’s over-priced, genetically-defective “product.”
    Factory-farmed puppies fall under jurisdiction of USDA. While living in puppy mills, companion animals are considered livestock. A cage the length of his/her body, plus 6 inches is an appropriate amount of living space.

    Call your Representative or Senators. Demand public access to animals protected under the AWA. We pay for this service and ought to have the right to access it.

    • Rich says:

      We need national Lemon Laws to protect consumers from non-compliant breeders. Additionally Pet Stores should be required to provide the USDA certificate ID of the breeder who provided them with the animal. This will give the economic incentive for these breeders to clean up their act. Under the AWA and the mission of APHIS as educational rather than punitive, they have no incentive to change.

    • Judy Reinsma says:

      I agree with Ms. Davies. Call and/or write your senators and congressman or woman. This is an outrage. The animals cannot speak, we must speak on their behalf.

  8. Sharon r says:

    Is it a fact that this was in the works for over a year during the Obama admin and was just signed last week ??? If so why the outrage now Something should’ve been done a year ago. Also. The usda did a lousy job and that’s being kind. Only 120 inspectors and not a.ot of record keeping. I read this in two local publications. I will help,all I can to revoke this order but just curious as to why nobody said anything before this.

    • Kathleen Summers says:

      Hi, Sharon. I work on the puppy mills campaign at HSUS. Although the agency claims they have been considering this move for some time, there was no public warning or opportunity for discussion, and the records were removed abruptly. Had the HSUS had an opportunity to comment, we certainly would have spoken up. And yes, it’s true that the HSUS has been critical of the USDA for often being slow to fine, penalize or revoke licenses of chronic AWA violators. Unfortunately, that problem will only get worse now that the HSUS and other animal welfare groups have no way of monitoring enforcement records.

      • Wendy Black says:

        I was hoping HSUS would promptly initiate legal action, and it happened fast. You work with a great organization.

      • Louise says:

        Anything we the concerned citizen (and taxpayer!) can do to help HSUS with this effort? This is despicable, but not entirely surprising given the new administration’s seeming bent toward anti-enviro mentalism. Should we be calling our legislators?

      • EmilyC says:

        Thank you for clarifying this. I want to help, we must do something.

      • jaime foster says:

        Kathleen, has the HSUS considered organizing a protest against the USDA on this ban? I would help in any way I can to organize this if I have the backing of a powerful organization such as yourselves

    • Marie says:

      Sharon, the outrage being displayed only now is because the election of Trump does not fit their liberal narrative.

      • Toni says:

        Does it fit your Narrative? If so, enlighten us, how?

      • Roe Breslin says:

        Marie, the outrage is NOW because the reports were just deleted on Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, under Trump’s administration. Said reports were STILL available online on Jan. 20, 2017, under the Obama administration!

      • FB says:

        This is Trumps doing by allowing Protect the Harvest volunteer. Please do your homework on what they stand for and don’t pretend for even a second that only liberals are outraged!

    • Carol B. Richman,R.N.,B.S.N. says:

      Sharon, you are so right! Never enough inspectors, and record keeping was almost non- existent. It was a sham. Now we’re complaining! Lots more work to do this time around! We are going backward in our attempt at humanity in many ways.

    • Mary says:

      Not true. The Obama administration was given the option of deleting the abuse information, as had other administrations before his. They refused. The new administration did not refuse and, without any notice, did remove the abuse reports. Please check your facts. The reason no one said anything before this is because no one had removed the reports before. It was definitely not “in the works” for over a year. This one is entirely the work of the current administration

    • Roe Breslin says:

      USDA previously gave the Obama administration an option to remove the animal abuse reports and THAT administration refused it. This is another case of Trump’s administration giving “alternate facts” after receiving blowback on Trump’s actions (like the Yemen raid and the immigration ban).

  9. Stefanie george says:

    This is beyond absurd!!! This has to stop now! Please do whatever needs to be done to save these innocent living beings from all of the horrible situations! Humane safe healthy animals!!!!!!

  10. Debbie says:

    How could they do this? What cold hearts they have. All progress made is threatened!!

  11. Richelle says:

    Thank you for pursuing this. Animal abusers must be held to account, and information must be transparent.

  12. Deeanna Burns says:

    I want to know how this removal happened. If it is related to President Trump, I want to express my disapproval.

  13. Gailyn Brock says:

    It seems like a simple thing to continue showing the data on a public forum. Hopefully this does not mean that USDA will no longer keep track of these facilities.

  14. Melissa Smith says:

    Dan Ashe and HSUS on the same side. What does that tell you about this administration? What does that say about what will happen to animals NOT in captivity. We must all come together for animals now.

  15. Pam Mills says:

    CAVE MEN?

  16. Joan Dick says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for all you do for the animals! And thank you for bringing Wayne onboard to your team. He is the PERFECT person for his role and so much forward progress has occured under his leadership.
    Under this new creepy president who is devoid of sound thinking and judgement as a man who only cares about money, we need your experience and aggressive push back to hold the progress made under Obamas terms. We’ll stand with you and support you…just give us direction and a solid lead. Thank you!
    Love to you all!
    Joan

  17. Pamela says:

    Purge or remove and store records? Important distinction and I would appreciate knowing which one. Of course, I understand the thrust of the lawsuit is different because various people and organizations need immediate access to those records. Understood.

  18. Kim says:

    I’m not sure how the laws play out, so someone help me understand:

    It seems to me that the USDA and other agencies are funded by the taxes we pay. As such, would the population own the information collected by the USDA? If so, an argument can be made that by removing the information from public access, it is equivalent to removing books from a public library, or perhaps, more akin to having them burned.

    We don’t want our facts censored.

    • Rich says:

      The claim that APHIS is making is that by censoring this data they are protecting other tax payers rights to privacy. However the data is still useful without the name and address of the offending breeder. Customer number and Certificate number along with other information is enough for a consumer to determine if they want to do business with a pet store…provided pet stores provide them with this info. The “Doing Business As” or “Customer Name” would be needed for consumers to identify a roadside attraction or zoo.

  19. De Alberts says:

    This is HORRIBLY Wrong !
    No excuse for this action at all.

  20. Barbara Reed says:

    This is outrageous!

  21. Whitney says:

    Thank you! Please keep fighting this unethical move.

  22. Kathleen Hazimeh says:

    USDA owes it to the public to release these records. Please fight to have the records recovered and released. If the trump administration doesn’t feel it important to have this information then release the records to people that do care. Our Republicans are achieving a new level of deplorable. It’s just downright disgusting.

  23. ROSEMARIE ZIDNER says:

    SORRY BUT I AM SPEECHLESS, “TRUMP” has definitely gone too far with reversing the changes all the PEOPLE have wanted & FOUGHT hard for. His spiteful demeanor towards overturning “OBAMA’s” changes backwards is BARBARIC……God Help Us against this Dictator!

  24. Joanie Levine says:

    This is horrible! The public needs access to these records! The HSUS has made big strides in animal welfare, like felony prosecution for animal abuse, and this will make their efforts so much more difficult. This totally sounds like another move by the Trump camp to protect business interests without any regard for the harmful effects that will result.

  25. Kim Perron says:

    Please continue fighting for and protecting the rights of those animals that can’t defend themselves.

  26. Karen Mahon says:

    Thank you. Just the idea that this administration would not stand up for the rights of animals…even under existing law…makes me feel sick. Please keep fighting. We are with you.

  27. Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL says:

    Why? This administration is going places it shouldn’t. Why lessen the regulations on animal welfare? Don’t they have pets? Don’t they have heart. I am so sad about this. The grief and loss surrounding this issue are paramount.

  28. Michael Litt says:

    Is there anything we (the public) can do to help the cause? Any protests going on? Any petitions to sign? What can we do to help keep things in check..

  29. Sally says:

    I have an idea…TRUMP NEEDS TO SHUT DOWN EVER BREEDER/PUPPY MILL IN THE UNITED STATES AND WE WON’T NEED USE FOR THESE RECORDS N SPEND TIME ARGUING ABOUT THEM BEING TAKEN DOWN WHILE ANIMALS SUFFER!!!!!

  30. kathy schoolfield says:

    When you give money to a public charity, you expect the truth and to know what’s going on.

  31. Jane Cheuvront says:

    This is wrong. Our elected officials or out of control. Our elected officials are payed with your tax dollars. They were elected to work the American public. They voting constituents. Your millions of of the American public tax dollars are given to the Agriculture Dept. by approval from the Appropriations Committee. They are spending your tax dollars on programs that the public find disapproving.
    This will never change if the public doesn’t speak up for themselves.
    We all the Horse Soreing in the Walking Horse community is animal cruelty, neglect and abusive.
    You can Mitchell McConnell for that to continue. Which indicates that politics and money are allowing this animal cruelty and abuse to continue.
    Neither politicians and these horses owners who are only out for fame and glory and have no regard for the pain and suffering for these horse’s.
    Puppy mills should have never been allowed in any state. How many cases of cruelty, neglect and abuse have been find and prosecuted.
    It’s the money and politics.
    I speak for myself and I and others can’t speak for you.

  32. Terry Pauley says:

    You the USDA suck at your jobs

  33. Carolyn Stine says:

    This is another example of Trump’s horrendous agenda for the people (AND animals) living in this country! Don’t trust Trump!

  34. Sheri Daunheimer says:

    We all need to stand up for these animals in anyway we can. “A March for Paws, Whiskers and Wagging Tails” should be organized.

    These animals need a voice and need to be protected. ❤

  35. Jenny Schlueter says:

    Thank you for trying to reverse this terrible course of action. If this administration is trying to hide animal welfare records, just imagine what else they are working quickly to hide.

  36. Jaime Foster says:

    We need to fight this! Donate to the HSUS, call your representatives and sign petitions. Also, I think the animals need a protest of their own, don’t you? Time to march!

  37. Joan Romiti says:

    This is just unbelievable we need to speak for the animals that can’t!

  38. Doris Muller says:

    Hmm, all I can say is a repeat of what I always say: USDA = United States Department of Assholes!

  39. Doris Muller says:

    Sorry, I forgot to say THANK YOU! HSUS for your important work.

  40. Marilyn fanning says:

    Please stop.this horrifying cruelty, these animals feel fear and pain just like us, they need love and looking after, please stop the cruelty 🙁

  41. Cindy Ferrari says:

    This has to stop now they are gods beautiful innocent creature let put a stop to this now

  42. Karin Johnson says:

    I just tried to get contact information to communicate my outrage to the USDA.
    The website provides NO E-MAIL contact information.
    The phone number is not operational – message says “this voice mail is not set up yet”.
    The phone directory leads you to an ERROR page.
    The only way to communicate with this agency is to WRITE A LETTER??? In 2017??
    Is this all by design?
    Does anyone have a way to contact them, either USDA or APHIS??

    • Karin Johnson says:

      OK, I just found a way to e-mail a QUESTION,
      however it doesn’t work!
      In order to submit, you must choose a subtopic, however the subtopic box isn’t there.
      This is completely unacceptable.
      This is VERY STRANGE.
      The White House has NO MORE COMMENT LINE, and a lot of information is being held from the public by various agencies. I am more and more outraged by the day.

  43. adrineh zohrabi says:

    love animals

  44. Marla Anderson says:

    Transparency on the government’s part is essential for the welfare of so many animals………I am praying all the documents removed will be available again…….

  45. Cheryl Norton says:

    How sad for the animals. This is outrageous.

  46. Mary Beth Bryman says:

    Animal welfare data is public knowledge. No reports should be deleted. We have the right to have access to these reports.

  47. Dawn Eaton says:

    This may very well be the start of a cruel and uncaring climate toward animals by this administration. I have signed petitions but would love to see a walk or demonstration in support of animals. We need to raise our voice against cruelty especially now. Thanks to The HSUS for speaking out and fighting so hard for those that have no voice.

    • Jocelyn Fowble says:

      I agree a protest walk to stand up for animals and all our beloved pets is necessary to bring interest and promotion to this appalling censure of information by the federal government under this administration.

  48. Maggi Quinn says:

    Animals are the best beings on our planet…please save them!

  49. Carol Dibenedetto says:

    Animal rights need to be protected! They have no help if it’s not us!! They are voiceless and we need to stand by them

  50. kathy schoolfield says:

    Wayne
    When things get straightened out with the USDA and violations are visible again
    will they stop the offenders from keeping these puppies in cold, unheated, no food,no water and no attention cages of HELL. Ya’ll knew these animals weren’t being kept in the conditions they should be. Why didn’t you correct them?

  51. Nancie Pike says:

    Thank you HSUS for posting the petition to the USDA on your website! I have signed it and also sent it to family and friends. I agree, let’s MARCH for this cause!!!

  52. Ludmila Manafova says:

    PLEASE STOP ANIMAL CRUELTY!

  53. Linda says:

    I want to see a statement issued from the Dept. of Agriculture stating why those in power see a need to do this. The statement the USDA issued about privacy issues is lame. We have a right to know what they are doing. Everyday more and more legislation is being passed without the public having much say, if any. I do not understand the willful ignorance toward animals human beings display. They are not expendable as many of our representatives seem to think. I will always stand with those who see all animals as sentient beings who deserve a decent life. We should be evolving, not devolving. In the end, it points to money whether it comes from industrial farming to breeding pure lines of regulation show animals, animals used for research and when their time is over, just discard, no problem. Lots of money in the horse and dog racing industry, of course the NRA is always in the mix. We wouldn’t know how many animals are killed, so no bitching about that. Might even get to run the elite predators into extinction. This is much bigger than puppy mills, it’s a chipping away of our basic rights as Americans. Keep us in the dark and we comply. We have a moral obligation to keep animals safe, fight for them, and fight this God awful bunch of morally bankrupt people making these decisions. Stay vigilant.

  54. J Vailleau says:

    We are the voice of these animals. They have the right to be protected.

  55. J Vailleau says:

    Let us fight for the rights of all animals.

  56. Randy Macht says:

    HSUS, Please do not allow the USDA to removal of animal welfare records! You have my full support to not allow this to happen. Trump’s cabinet has crossed the line here and this will not be tolerated!

  57. J. Martin says:

    We need this information and should fight to keep it available to the public. I thank the HSUS for working to protect animals. I just read that the new Congress is getting ready to repeal a lot of legislation that protects animals. We adopted our wonderful dog from the SPCA. She was on death’s door and they nursed her back to life. She was a puppy mill dog. “We the people” are the bosses of this Congress. We need to make our voices known and get ready for the fight of our lives in 2018.

  58. Karen EAGLE Moman says:

    Shame! shame! shame! shame!
    How will you sleep at night?
    Animals need our help

  59. Karen EAGLE Moman says:

    Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!

  60. val wolf says:

    I hope the USDA reinstates this vital information. Thank You HSUS for working toward this goal. Suffice it to say however, that we can assume that all animals in puppy mills, zoos circuses factory farms, roadside zoos, and on and on are miserable, USDA reports or not. Further, since USDA is also in the business of promoting farming, etc, I am not sure how much their information is to be trusted.

  61. Sonia Thompson says:

    Lack of government transparency does not mean we will stop caring, voting, or spending according to our values.

  62. EmilyC says:

    Please stop with the blame, and politics. Be part of a solution. At this point all we care about is turning this around. Let the chips fall where they may.

  63. EmilyC says:

    This is Trumps Facebook page, if you use Twitter you can post to him there also.
    Ask him to reverse the decision. I did and kept it very professional. No attacks because that gets you nothing. JMO
    https://www.facebook.com/DJT.WH/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

  64. Michele Nikolai says:

    Please allow the animal welfare records to remain public. It protects animals and helps keep labs and places that keep animals accountable for their treatment of the animals.
    Further, it allows people to find reputable breeders and safe labs.
    Animals that are kept as pets or in labs are at our mercy for humane treatment. Please do not allow them to become at risk for poor treatment/care by removing these records.

  65. Vickie Davis says:

    Isn’t it true that only pennies from every $1 donated to the HSUS actually goes to the animals? The rest pays high salaries to the organization’s CEO’s.

    • Vaishali Honawar says:

      Hi Vickie, I am the blog editor of A Humane Nation. The HSUS spends 80 percent of its funds on program expenses, helping pets, wildlife, animals in laboratories, farm animals, marine mammals, and other animals at risk in society. While our critics try to falsely frame animal welfare work as the narrow category of just giving pass-through grants to separate organizations, our work is broad and focused on helping all animals. We have our own staff and programs, and together with our affiliates we provided direct care to nearly 300,000 animals in 2016, and provided services and resources to train and professionalize the entire field of animal care and sheltering. We also spend resources protecting the millions of pets who never end up in a shelter – those living in poverty in the U.S., and caught up in puppy mills, dogfighting rings, and other large-scale cruelties. Our work lifts up the entire field of animal sheltering, such as our partnership with The Ad Council and Maddie’s Fund to create The Shelter Pet Project, the first nationwide public service advertising campaign designed to encourage people to adopt their next pet from their local shelter. This multi-million dollar campaign has already been credited with encouraging thousands more people to adopt than ever before, and will undoubtedly change the lives of millions of homeless pets.

  66. Kristine says:

    I contacted the USDA about this and their response was to send me here https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/enforcementactions

    Sounds like this is tied up in litigation – what can we do to help?

  67. Laurie Kennedy says:

    Laurie Kennedy
    Pjpusser3@rcn.com

    The USDA must re-instate their website informing consumers about cruelty to animals. That way we will not buy dogs or cats who have been mistreated, we will be able to help all animals in need from unnecessary cruelty. We are the voices of animals in dire situations.

  68. William Cain says:

    How I miss Mr. Obama!

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