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USDA Promises More Transparency



To:    Horse Industry Organizations

From:  Chester Gipson
           Deputy Administrator
           Animal Care

Subject:   HIO Suspension Lists and Audit Reports

The Department would like to update you on a change we’re making to the information available on our Animal Care website.  Beginning February 2010, we will begin posting more information on violations and enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA).  This is one step in a series of actions we have taken and plan to take in the future to facilitate a more open and transparent federal government.

For many years, there has been intense interest from the public for information regarding the HPA and how the Department identifies violations and enforces the Act.  The Department will now be providing Horse Industry Organizations (HIO) suspension lists on its website, which will allow all of our stakeholders and the general public to examine these lists without submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.   We will publish the information that is most often sought when people make FOIA requests – the name, city, and state of individual violators.  Protected information, including information involving minors and the addresses of violators, will be removed.  We will also begin posting the most current HIO office review reports.   These reports will reflect the performance of the HPA enforcement that is provided by the USDA certified HIOs.

The proactive posting of these suspension lists and office review reports will aid us in our ongoing efforts to enforce the Horse Protection Act in the best and most transparent way possible.  As always, we welcome your feedback on this issue.  We appreciate your support of Animal Care as we work to end the cruel practice of soring.

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