Despite an ongoing issue of animal abuse, cruelty, and neglect, many are shocked when the USDA decided to shut down the online database that governs information regarding animals that are injured, mistreated or killed. It is currently unclear whether this decision was generated by the newly elected President Trump and his administration. The claim by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is that there are privacy concerns with the data.

Associated Press & PETA make statements regarding USDA’s decision

The online animal database was a great source of information for more than a decade, with administrative complaints, warnings, inspection reports, settlements before trial and research facility annual reports.

Removal of the database is a detrimental resource for the protection of animals. The Associated Press states that it is unclear whether this decision to remove the online information is permanent or temporary. PETA spokesperson and VP Kathy Guillermo said that this decision is a reprehensible attempt to keep people from awareness of which and when laws and regulations are violated. She continued to state that several licensed and federally registered facilities have long histories of abuse and suffering of animals.

Controversy regarding database affecting privacy issues

USDA stated that the removal of the database was due to concerns about privacy. However, the Director of Stop Animal Exploitation NOW, Michael Budkie says that the information contains no personal information at all.

He believes the decision has nothing to do with privacy. Budkie stated to CNN that the database was a useful tool to publicize and expose the abuse of animals. It is essential in dealing with labs, animal breeders and dealers that break the law or such crimes will go undetected and more difficult to solve. Both PETA, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW, and other animal activists view this decision as shameful. Ms. Guillermo from PETA told CNN: “Public taxes fund these agencies and the public should not be kept the dark because the feds would rather shield abusers than hold them accountable."