Under the Trump administration a massive amount of animal welfare information has been removed from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service removed Animal Welfare Act and Horse Protection Act violation records from its website early in February 2017.
Whereas until recently the public had access to information relating to violations of animal welfare on the USDA website now they will have to make an application under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the documents. This presents an enormous barrier because I’m certain that most people would not want to begin that process and if they did it would take months and perhaps years. I don’t know how the process works in America but no doubt under some circumstances information can be withheld even under a freedom of information application.
This change creates a lack of transparency. Transparency is essential in helping to prevent animal welfare law violations. Conversely, opacity facilites and encourages animal abuse. It hides abuses. It helps those involved in abusing animals for profit to get away with it.
I think, to be honest, that many people are unsurprised by these developments. As far as I’m aware, Trump has never been the caretaker of a cat or dog. He is a businessman. Businessmen are concerned with one thing: profit.
The business of breeding high pedigree mammals is massive in America. For example, in 2013, the Performance Show Horse Association estimated that horse shows in America generated $11 billion yearly. I am sure puppy and kitten mills are big business too.
Money is behind this change. The reason appears to be that the records hampered, or restricted the making of money from animals by people who lack the requisite concern for animal welfare. For example, puppy mill breeders.
It seems that President Trump selected a person called Brian Klippenstein as the USDA transition leader. Klippenstein is, I’m told, a puppy mill advocate. He is also a staunch opponent of the Humane Society Of the United States (HSUS). Need we say more?
John Goodwin, Senior Director of the HSUS’s Stop Puppy Mills Campaign said that the removal of these records “benefits no one except for people who hurt animals, got caught and don’t want anyone to know about it.”
An American whose name is Keith Olbermann, who I don’t know, but who apparently is well known, made a video about this which you can see below.
I am compelled to refer to the very well-known quote from Mahatma Gandhi, “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.
Some people say that you shouldn’t trust people who don’t love animals. Trump has not as far as I’m aware ever had a companion animal. In fact, there is little evidence that Trump has ever loved anyone or anything other than himself.
I’m sure that a lot of people thought this would happen. You can gauge his mentality. He has argued about withdrawing from attempts to control climate change. He does not believe in it. He is given a clear signal to the world that he is not interested in the environment. He appears to be disinterested in nature and therefore it is one small step to be disinterested in protecting animals from abuse. He appears to be more interested in using animals to make money.
I’m told that Trump has made tweets in which he compared people who he doesn’t like with dogs. That, in itself, gives a clear indication to me that he does not care about animals.
A Trump supporter says that it is up to animal advocates to do their own research when finding the right animal companion. He says that people who are truly terrible to animals will get caught eventually. That is probably true but it is so much better if they get caught as soon as possible in the interests of animal welfare. I don’t think a Trump supporter can honestly agree with the removal of these records.
Good animal welfare and animal protection is a sign of the quality of the society in which we live. The greater the protection of animals and the higher the quality of their welfare, the more civilised a developed country is. This is a backward step by the Trump administration.
Sources: Myself, comments on YouTube, planetexperts.com and huffingtonpost.com.