Success: USDA Reposts Animal Welfare Information

Target: Peter Rhee, USDA Director of Digital Communications

Goal: Praise the USDA for publishing information on animal abuse that had previously been taken down.

On February 3rd, 2017, thousands of records of animal abuse and neglect were removed from the USDA’s website, citing privacy concerns. This act was a huge step backwards in the fight for animal welfare, and it sparked a huge backlash. A wealth of petitions were written on the issue, and Forcechange was just one of the websites brave enough to speak out on this important topic. Perpetrators of animal cruelty should not be protected. Since animals are unable to speak for themselves, they are our most vulnerable population and must be afforded protection, like the inspections the USDA does to ensure they’re being treated humanely.

Weeks later, the USDA put some of the records back online. This victory may be small and incomplete, but we must celebrate any tiny step in the right direction for animal safety. It’s important that we praise the USDA for replacing at least some of these vital records, while we wait for more to be re-uploaded, since the usefulness of positive reinforcement cannot be underestimated. There are still lawsuits pending in regards to the other records, so hopefully more progress will be made soon. Sign this petition to applaud the USDA for taking a step in the right direction by republishing some records of animal cruelty.


Dear Mr. Rhee,

The removal of thousands of records of animal cruelty from the USDA website was appalling. The records contributed to the accountability of zoos, circuses, laboratories, and puppy mills. Without the listings on your website, consumers had no idea which businesses were humane and which ones were horrifying in their abuse. There was a concern about the privacy of those committing these atrocities, but the records have not shared personal information for a long time and should not be hidden away behind red tape.

The records are an invaluable tool for animal activists, and should absolutely be made public. The Trump administration has brought change to every government department, but it shouldn’t prevent people from helping the helpless. Most of the records still are not posted and anyone interested has to file a Freedom of Information Act request, prolonging the needless suffering of innocent animals.  We praise your decision to relist some records but beg you to relist the rest immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Petr Kratochvil

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  1. Linda Hilty-Tuttle says:

    We PRAISE your decision to relist some records, but BEG you to relist the rest immediately!!! We INSIST on TOTAL TRANSPARENCY, since animals are unable to speak for themselves. Perpetrators of animal cruelty should NOT EVER be protected!

  2. Thank you, but still sadly the cruelty continues. The roadside zoos, traveling circuses, horses still being sored and participating in shows let alone the horrific cruelty at factory farms, the endless puppy Mills contributing to millions of dogs eithanasia. Screened dedicated Cruelty Inspectors are needed. It’s not working, the animals continue to suffer as inspectors are too lax. Drain the money corruption and stop the cruelty. Thank you.

  3. Cynthia Mattera says:

    Thank you for putting back some of the info. Can I please ask you to put back ALL of the information, so that animal abusers can be tracked?

    Thank you!

  4. It is vital we keep these records and have people be accountable..It is important to understand and pursue these behaviours in order to understand the causes and conditions that enable this destructive desperate human behaviour to continue…It will be an ongoing and much needed solution to investigate and research these violent behaviours..and spend taxes wisely instead of military and defensive measures to be courageous enough to deal with the real problmes, human frailty,and inability to be self aware and to help people understand why they act out in revenge…a never ending story

  5. Praise them? They’re blocking vital PUBLIC information. Praising them would be like praising a child for NOT eating out of the toilet. The court cases on both coasts are and will continue, until this PUBLIC organization does their JOB. Praise an organizations that is forcing the public to file requests for information and then not responding to those requests? Are you kidding me??? Not in this lifetime will I thank an organization for hiding information and doing a half-assed job. This White House Swamp does NOTHING for them public good. NOTHING.

  6. Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & Shared

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