In response to Elmer Leighton’s letter of 3/4/17, “Time to hurt animals,” I wish your research had gone further than automatically blaming President Trump for the removal of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website (APHIS). Lately, unlike the last eight years, it seems a weekly regular tidbit of anti-Trump “news” graces the pages of the Hudson Reporter with or without checking the facts; however, I’ve not seen this type of scrutiny during the Obama administration.
Having said that, according to the USDA, the blacking out of the APHIS web site providing animal rights information and data was removed due to the site containing personal information of employees and stakeholders, and that the move commenced under the Obama administration; moreover, a serious accusation was applied in Mr. Leighton’s letter to President Trump in “Time to hurt animals” alluding to the fact that Mr. Trump willfully intends to ‘hurt animals.’
Did Mr. Leighton do the prerequisite “Real News” research? Again, President Trump gets the blame for an act put in place under the Obama regime, like the ICE enforcement of illegal immigrants across the country that was set in motion by President Obama in 2016 to be triggered on 2/17 (after the election).
The USDA said that the blacking out of the documents was a result of its “commitment to being transparent, remaining responsive to our stakeholders’ informational needs, and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals.” It also stated that the decision to remove the records from public view resulted from a yearlong “comprehensive review,” and noted that individuals will continue to be able to access records through FOIA requests. Those can take months or years to receive responses.
“I would certainly agree that protection of personal information is of utmost importance, especially given the rich history of targeting the individuals involved in animal research,” said Matthew Bailey, the president of the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) in Washington, D.C., which defends the use of animals in research, in a statement. “However, this change also makes it more time consuming, although not impossible, for organizations like FBR to analyze trends in animal use in research.”
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