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Agriculture Dept. Removes Animal-Welfare Data From Website

A trove of information about animal welfare in university and government research laboratories, in zoos and circuses, and elsewhere disappeared from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website on Friday, worrying animal-rights activists and others who have been concerned that the Trump administration will stop making available a range of data collected by the government.

In a written statement, the Agriculture Department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said that during the past year it had been conducting “a comprehensive review of the information it posts,” and had decided to remove “certain personal information” from public view.

The statement also said the agency would no longer post “inspection reports, regulatory correspondence, research-facility annual reports, and enforcement records that have not received final adjudication.”

“Some enforcement records” will still be posted elsewhere on the department’s website, the statement said, but otherwise information will be available only through Freedom of Information Act requests.

Science magazine’s website reported that about 1,200 of the 7,800 facilities overseen by the inspection service are university and government research labs, some of which have come under fire from animal-welfare advocates who have relied on information from the agency to publicize the labs’ treatment of animals.

Representatives of the department declined to tell The Washington Post whether President Trump’s appointees were involved in the department’s decision.

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