Urgent alert: Help us stop the USDA’s latest attempt to protect puppy millers, horse sorers

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

By on December 17, 2019 with 35 Comments

Recently, in a shocking move, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its plans to continue to conceal crucial animal welfare records from public view, including inspection reports and enforcement records of puppy mills, roadside zoos and horse shows where Tennessee walking horses and related breeds are vulnerable to soring. This is a blatant attempt to keep Americans in the dark about how a taxpayer-funded agency is enforcing animal welfare laws, and we urgently need your help to stop it.

With this proposal, published at the end of October in the Federal Register, the USDA is trying to completely normalize its purge in January 2017 of substantive Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act records from its website. It’s a disservice to the American public and an action meant to let regulated industries and interests carry on without oversight or accountability.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund have been fighting a hot war against this lack of transparency within our federal agencies for the last several years because we believe that there ought to be an unambiguous standard when it comes to our government’s commitment to animal welfare. This is one of the most important fights of this kind–to preserve the American public’s right to know how enterprises that keep or use animals are treating them–for many reasons. For instance, recent outbreaks of diseases such as drug-resistant campylobacter infections and brucellosis have been linked to USDA-licensed puppy mills, and the public has a right to know what, if anything, the agency is doing to make sure that animals are cared for in clean and healthy environments.

The institutions, industries and operations now regulated by the USDA are commercial entities that sell or use animals, not individuals who keep animals for their own private companionship. Over the years, access to the USDA’s inspection and enforcement records has made it possible for us and others to track the rigor of the government’s efforts to regulate such stakeholders, and in some cases, to use that information to advance or to publicize compelling animal welfare concerns. Were this misconceived proposal to go into effect, our government would give puppy millers, horse sorers, laboratory managers, roadside zoo operators and other entities a free hand to conduct their affairs with no fear of public scrutiny.

We cannot let this happen. So far, more than 5,000 people have commented on this regulatory change, almost all in opposition to it. But in order to win this fight, we need more people to weigh in before the Dec. 26 deadline. Please leave your comment at this link, and let the USDA know quickly that you do not approve of this regulatory change that blocks public online access to key animal welfare records. The American people needs full searchable access to this data to ensure government transparency and proper enforcement of the AWA and HPA—laws that are intended to protect animals and the public.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Tell the USDA not to block public access to animal welfare records


Companion Animals, Equine, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Kathleen Schormann says:

    END concealing records.

  2. Kathleen Cecchin says:

    My faith in humanity is dwindling. Please redeem the term “humane”

  3. Naomi says:

    Both are barbaric, we’re better than this

  4. Angel Tackett says:

    Animals feel the same pain and fear that humans feel and they need to be protected

  5. Gail Bolyard says:

    A taxpayer funded agency should not be allowed to hide information from the public. This is typical government – horrible treatment to animals, hide it & allow it to continue. I do not approve of the regulatory change blocking public access to animal welfare records.

  6. Christina Tice says:

    Please allow the public access to these very important records! We have the right to be informed when businesses participate in egregious animal cruelty.

  7. Ariene says:

    I do not approve of this lack of transparency within our federal agencies. Stop this.

  8. Jeff Hudson says:

    The Walking/gaited horse industry other then Paso shows needs to stop altogether. the members have had every chance to stop these practices within their ranks and as such if they are not willing to stop it then stop all walking/gaited horse shows. Puppy mills need to be stopped until all dogs are adopted from all rescue facilities. NOT everything on this planet and every living creature exists for humans to crete livings or wealth from.

  9. Sue Mitchel says:

    It sounds like there needs to be another data bank also?

  10. David Bernazani says:

    I commented on the federal website and made it clear that we demand access to public animal welfare records. I hope everyone else commenting here did so as well.
    I also shared this on my FB page for my many activist friends to comment on too.

  11. Cathy Simmons says:

    Stop this horrible act againt these innocent animals now!!

  12. Fatimah says:

    End the abuse now!!!

  13. Janice Simmons says:

    END concealing records

  14. Jill Sivert says:

    All animals need to be protected from humans who continue to abuse and harm them. We the Public have the right to know what is going on, stop hiding!

  15. Faith A Hassan says:

    Unbelievably selfish, barbaric , pitiful , cruel are just a few words that describes this horrible picture of this poor horse . Shame on you for what you have put this beautiful creature through . Your’e some human being !

  16. Elaine cuy says:

    Our responsibility is to protect wildlife not to maim and destroy it!

  17. Vicky says:

    All Animals Must Be Protected , We are their voice ! No animal should be without a voice from us the people ! The abuse and those whom cause over population by breeding so much needs to stop ! People need to be held accountable for there actions towards any animals

  18. Marie Galbraith says:

    These records are important for a visible account on the treatment of animals that have no voice.

  19. Bonnie says:

    This is disgusting. Stop cruel treatment.

  20. Ann says:

    It never ends, does it? All I keep thinking about is who’s paying these government agencies off? Follow the money Trail and you’ll find the culprits. But, no one should be able to buy anything that is not right and just. Just remember, God is watching everything we do and everything we say and he’s keeping track.

  21. C says:

    Please allow the public access to these very important records! We have the right to be informed when businesses participate in egregious animal cruelty.

  22. Rebekah Savage says:

    End the concealing of records.

  23. Carol says:

    The public has a right to see what these organizations are doing to animals.

  24. Colleen kok says:

    Please stop the torture of these beautiful animals, they feel pain and torture like we do, you can see the fear in the eyes and the body language, please show the records publicly so all may see! How in this day and age have we become so inhumane!!

  25. Laura says:

    Taxpayers fund the USDA and shoukd clearly have the right to view animal welfare records … to insure the animals ARE being protected by the agency we pay to regulate the industries. Almost seems there must be something to hide, which is concerning and sickening …

  26. Tawnya Russell says:

    The USDA needs to be investigated. Concealing these violations perpetuates the abuse these animals are enduring. We as a country need stricter laws and protections before we are as disgusting as other countries. Animals have feelings, feel pain and know fear. Unfortunately many humans do not have compassion or empathy. As a governmental agency you need to uphold the laws and do your job, not cover up the inadequacies..

  27. Annette Hof says:

    I do not approve of this regulatory change that blocks public online access to key animal welfare records.
    Why harm and kill these innocent animals that cant defend themselves, they have feelings, they have pain, they can see, they can hear and the list goes on.
    Animals are alot smarter then what you think. They deserve a better life and not be tortured and all.
    They dont want to die, they want to live, just like us.
    They haven’t done anything wrong to us and look what we are doing to them
    I will fight for the animals and I will NOT give up on them, I will fight until the end of my days.
    Please leave the animals alone.

  28. LeeAnn Young says:

    I have tried several times to comment on the website The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Notice: Privacy Act; Systems of Records, but it will not accept. states to fill all fields, but I have filled all blanks. any suggestions?

  29. theodore bodaar says:

    Now i do know this country love,s censorship and this is a big example of that fact, and this all in favor of a bunch of sadist who simply love to torture animal,s for their own sake and wallet ! all of this allowed hidden animal torture should be stopped by real force ( let,s say a War where you shoot to kill and for shure all those bastard,s who treat the animals like that should should get the same cure and worse in public ( let,s say on a market square to entertaine the good people who love animals !) and by doin, so make a real statement that say,s No more , no more.

  30. Jane says:

    Wishes for kindness and compassion for ALL BEINGS…They feel the same pain that humans do..All animals should have the protection they need and deserve. Animals are not put on earth for humans to abuse. IT IS THEIR WORLD TOO …Peace and Harmony for all.

  31. M gibner says:

    We are better than this! Where is your empathy for another being on this planet. We all want and need the same things in this earth. To see suffering is not at all necessary

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.