Registration is Open for NABR’s April Webinar!

When you received the news earlier this month that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) removed from its website “inspection reports, regulatory correspondence, research facility annual reports, and enforcement records,” you most likely and understandably had a few questions. What happened? Why? How does this impact me and my institution? What now?

Although some of the data is back online, USDA’s action will certainly impact registered research facilities and licensed dealers who supply animals to research facilities. Join NABR on Tuesday, April 11 for our next exclusive webinar that will examine the current status of the database and how it may affect your institution and animal rights activity. NABR’s staff will share expert analysis including examples of how NABR uses information in the database to provide advice and support to institutions like yours. You will get an in-depth look at the USDA’s database, the information contained, and learn how you can make sense of the tremendous amount of data contained within.

Due to its timely nature, this webinar is expected to fill up fast — reserve your spot and register today!

BREAKING: Some USDA Documents Back Online

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reported that some of the enforcement actions documents from the Animal Care Information Service (ACIS) have been reposted to the agency’s website.

As NABR reported, on February 3 USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) removed from its website “inspection reports, regulatory correspondence, research facility annual reports, and enforcement records that have not received final adjudication.” Several animal rights groups, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), Born Free USA, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and an Animal Law & Policy Fellow at Harvard Law School filed a lawsuit against the department demanding that the database be restored. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was preparing to file a lawsuit. Just this week, 101 members of the House of Representatives wrote to President Donald Trump (R) expressing concerns with the removal of the database requesting that it be reinstated.

To read USDA’s statement regarding the restoration of the database, please click here.

USDA’s APHIS Removes Enforcement Action Database; Information Still Available Through FOIA

UPDATED - February 9, 2017

On Friday, February 3, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) notified stakeholders that during the last year it had “conducted a comprehensive review of the information it posts on its website” and “will remove from its website inspection reports, regulatory correspondence, research facility annual reports, and enforcement records that have not received final adjudication.”  The move impacts information related to research facilities subject to the Animal Welfare Act and entities subject to the Horse Protection Act.

APHIS indicated that such records can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and will be released when authorized and in a manner consistent with the FOIA and Privacy Act.  NABR members attempting to access information on the APHIS website will notice changes including deactivation of the Animal Care Search Tool known as ACIS. The only information currently available on the website is a list by name and state of licensed and registered facilities.

The APHIS website changes have been widely reported by news media as an “abrupt removal” of information and animal rights groups have speculated that the changes may be driven by the new administration.

However, it is more likely the changes are related to a federal lawsuit filed by individuals and organizations involved with the horse industry in a February 2016 filing against USDA in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Contender Farms vs. USDA). The lawsuit alleges that APHIS’ publication of enforcement actions is unlawful, misleading and falsely identifies thousands of people who never received notice of an alleged violation, never had a USDA complaint filed against them and were never afforded the opportunity for a formal hearing as “violators.”

In reviewing the information currently available to NABR, the net result of this action appears to be that all of the information available on the USDA website related to inspection and annual reports will still be available to anyone who files a FOIA request with the personally identifying information redacted. FOIA requests can be filed here: https://efoia-pal.usda.gov/palMain.aspx.

UPDATE - February 9, 2017

NABR supports transparency for information that serves the public good. Historically we have found USDA enforcement data extremely valuable in tracking and analyzing animal use trends in research. We hope the USDA can strike the proper balance between protecting personal privacy and informing the public as expeditiously as possible.

NABR will continue to report as new information becomes available. Please continue to check your email, visit www.NABR.org or follow us on Twitter.

BREAKING NEWS: Governor Sonny Perdue Nominated as Agriculture Secretary

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue (R), was nominated today by President-elect Donald Trump (R) to serve as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

A veterinarian by training, Perdue would be responsible for overseeing a federal department that implements a broad range of programs in the areas of farming, natural resources, food safety, animal health, trade and nutrition, to name a few. Of utmost importance to the animal research community is USDA’s enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act.

Perdue is a small business owner and native of Bonaire, Georgia and he served as Governor from 2003 to 2011 where he focused on reducing government waste, improving education and reforming state government. Prior to becoming Governor, he earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1971 from the University of Georgia and served several terms in the Georgia State Senate.

Agriculture Secretary is the last Cabinet-level position to be nominated by the President-elect. There has not yet been any indication when Perdue’s confirmation hearing will be scheduled.

The First Webinar of 2017 is Now Available On-Demand

The recording of last week's NABR webinar, "The 2016 USDA Inspection Data: What a Difference a Decade Makes," is now available online in the Members Only section of NABR.org for on-demand viewing.

Please click here to view "The 2016 USDA Inspection Data: What a Difference a Decade Makes."  You will need your NABR members-only log-in credentials to watch the presentation.

If you have problems logging in, please contact us at [email protected].

Join Us for NABR’s First Webinar of 2017!

2017 is just around the corner, which means that NABR is now reviewing last fiscal year’s animal research facility inspection results.

Each year, NABR obtains this information from USDA’s Animal Care Inspection System database and provides an analysis so you can make the most of the upcoming year. We invite you to join us on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 for "The 2016 USDA Inspection Data: What a Difference a Decade Makes." We will reveal this data… with a special twist. We will be comparing last fiscal year’s results to what was reported a decade ago, and the results may surprise you. This information is certain to help you manage your animal care and use program in the coming fiscal year. Start off 2017 on the right foot and join our latest webinar to see just how far the research community has come in the last ten years.

We anticipate a high number of registrants for this webinar so please register ASAP to guarantee your spot!

 

register now

 

 

*This webinar is a complimentary service for NABR member institutions. Unlimited numbers of interested participants from member institutions may register free of charge. Interested participants from non-member institutions must be pre-approved and will be charged an access fee of $379/person. All major credit cards accepted.

Yesterday’s NABR Webinar Now Available for Online Viewing

Did you miss yesterday’s NABR webinar?  Want to watch it again?  Interested in hosting a lunch-and-learn opportunity for your staff?  You’re in luck. As is customary, NABR has posted yesterday’s presentation, “Q&A with the USDA: The Next Generation” and it is available for online, on-demand viewing.

Please click here to view “Q&A with the USDA: The Next Generation.”  You will need your NABR members-only log-in credentials to watch the presentation.

You can find all of NABR’s past webinars, including this one, in an online library in the Members Only section of our website.

If you have problems logging in or have any questions about the webinar, please contact us at [email protected].

Congress Needs to Hear from You!

Congress returns from its holiday recess today to begin the last half of its session.  As they get back to work, it is important that your Congressman hear from constituents that support H.R. 3136, the Enforcement Transparency Act (ETA).  Congressional support for H.R. 3136 is building and hearing from supporters like you will help ignite further interest in the bill.

NABR's Capwiz system makes it quick and easy to send a pre-written (but editable) message of support to your Congressman.    Please take a moment to urge your Congressman to cosponsor and support H.R. 3136!

H.R. 3136 would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to release the guidelines used by Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES) at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in the formulation of any civil penalties for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).  This common-sense, bipartisan bill will provide the research community and the public a much greater understanding of how penalties are calculated for enforcement actions by USDA.  Currently, USDA subjectively determines AWA penalties on a case-by-case basis, and the results are unpredictable and inconsistent. These guidelines were once publicly available, but in recent years USDA has chosen to deny the research community and Members of Congress access to them. The last available AWA penalty guidelines, which are still posted on USDA's website (see page 44), have been revised five times and are now outdated. To read NABR's talking points on the ETA, please click here.

This right to know is the soul of open, transparent government, especially when the issuance of financial penalties could impact American competitiveness. If the general public can have knowledge of other penalties like littering, jaywalking, or speeding, the same should apply to laws enforced by USDA.

Again, please contact your Congressman TODAY and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 3136.  Click here to use NABR's Capwiz system to send an email directly to their offices and please encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to do the same.

Register Today for NABR’s First Webinar of 2016!

NABR's first webinar of 2016 has been scheduled!  Join us on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 for "The 2015 USDA Inspection Data: Reporting from a Different Perspective" as we provide new details on the USDA's inspection process.

Each year, NABR analyzes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal Care Inspection System database to review the inspection results for the previous years.  This year, however, NABR’s experts were unable to conduct their yearly review as the key export function utilized in the past was no longer functional.   This led to a thorough review of all inspection reports with citations and in that effort NABR’s team gained a new insight into the inspection process.

In “The 2015 USDA Inspection Data:  Reporting from a Different Perspective,” NABR will share with you these new observations and provide valuable information that will help you in managing your own animal care and use program.

Space is limited for this webinar and will likely run out quickly so please register ASAP!

Join us on January 12, 2016 by reserving your spot today!

register now

Over 60 Institutions Sign Letter to Congress Supporting H.R. 3136

Today, NABR delivered a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives announcing support for H.R. 3136.  This letter, signed by over 60 universities, scientific societies, associations, and companies, urges immediate passage of this important transparency improving legislation.

The Enforcement Transparency Act (H.R. 3136) would require the USDA to release the guidelines used by Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES) at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in the formulation of any civil penalties for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

This common-sense, bipartisan bill will provide the research community and the public a much greater understanding of how penalties are calculated for enforcement actions by USDA.  Currently, USDA subjectively determines AWA penalties on a case-by-case basis, and the results are unpredictable and inconsistent. These guidelines were once publicly available, but in recent years USDA has chosen to deny the research community and Members of Congress access to them. The last available AWA penalty guidelines are now outdated.

To read NABR's talking points on the ETA, please click here.

Please contact your Congressman TODAY and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 3136.  Click here to use NABR's Capwiz system to send an email directly to their offices and please encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to do the same.

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