"Absent Federal Policy, States Take Lead on Animal Welfare"

"With hard-won federal gains in the balance, states might be the next battleground for animal welfare reform."

"In the opening weeks of the Trump administration, the state of animal welfare—as with so much other policy—is in upheaval. On February 9, the administration froze the implementation of the just-passed Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP)—the only comprehensive federal law that regulates the welfare of animals raised for food.

The freeze comes on the heels of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) removing Animal Welfare Act inspection reports from its website. These cover compliance (and violations) of facilities that raise animals commercially for sale as pets, for biomedical research, and for zoos and circuses—but not those raised for food. In fact, only animals on the way to slaughter and in the slaughterhouse are covered under existing national law.

The USDA says it removed the data for privacy reasons and because of ongoing litigation. In response, PETA and half a dozen other animal rights groups have filed suit against the USDA, charging the agency with violating the Freedom of Information Act. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is also taking steps toward legal action, and Senator Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey), calling it a “transparency issue,” has demanded that the USDA immediately restore this data. Meanwhile, activists have recovered the deleted data and made it publicly available at thememoryhole2.org."

Elizabeth Grossman reports for Civil Eats February 15, 2017.

Source: Civil Eats, 02/15/2017