The Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service has launched what it calls a “refined public search tool” offering access to compliance records for the Animal Welfare Act.
Last year, APHIS formally initiated a comprehensive review and update of the Animal Care website. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports the agency also hoped to balance its commitment to transparency with applicable laws, including rules protecting personal privacy.
APHIS removed the Animal Care Information System search tool in February for review, and began posting inspection reports on a rolling basis in February, March, April and June of this year. A group of animal activists sued USDA and APHIS earlier this year over the removal of thousands of documents during the review period. The agency says that it is continuing to review animal inventories that accompany inspection reports for accuracy.
For that reason, the newly posted inspection reports do not include animal inventories, but APHIS intends to make this information available in the future.