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USDA to restore records on web site



The United States Department of Agriculture will repost certain information to its web site with regards to the Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act in accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020. This applies to the Tennessee Walking Horse industry with the posting of "final Horse Protection Act enforcement records." The industry had previously filed a lawsuit, known as Contender II, to force the USDA to remove information on its web site that was not a final action and violated industry participants privacy rights and unfairly penalized them for allegations not fully adjudicated.

The USDA's letter says this information with regards to the HPA will be posted within 60 days. Industry leadership will be monitoring what is posted to confirm that the information sought to be removed in the initial lawsuit is not reposted to the web site.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is restoring certain Animal Welfare Act records on its website. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, passed on December 20, 2019, included a provision that directs the restoration of these records.    

Section 788 of the law requires the Agency to “restore on its website the searchable database and its contents that were available on January 30, 2017, and all content generated since that date”.  APHIS removed these records in 2017 to address potential privacy concerns. While the Agency reposted most of the documents in 2017, the Agency did not repost or heavily redacted certain inspection reports and other documents that contained private information.  

In response to the latest requirements, APHIS has restored the searchable database including all of the documents that were available January 30, 2017, as well as documents that have been created since that date.    

Also, within 60 days APHIS will post records without redactions (except signatures) generated since the legislation was passed and continue hereafter. These records will include AWA inspection reports (including any non-compliant items), animal inventories, teachable moments, and final AWA and Horse Protections Act enforcement records. Within six months of receipt, APHIS will also post final Annual Reports and attachments from Research Facilities with appropriate redaction for confidential business information.  All these records will remain available for a period of three years from posting.  

APHIS searchable database may be found here.

A Letter to Animal Welfare Act Licensees and Registrants

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