APHIS is a vital program of the USDA that helps prevent such things as invasive species. We all remember the Mediterranean Fruit Fly (click here), yes? It was such an activity of APHIS.
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February 6, 2017Silver Spring, MD- (click here)- Without prior notice late last week, the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) abruptly removed animal welfare inspection reports from its website. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which accredits the world's best, and most visited zoos and aquariums, disagrees with USDA's decision, which makes this important information harder, not easier, for the public to obtain.
"When the Department of Agriculture decided to take all animal welfare inspection reports offline, there is no doubt some APHIS licensees were very happy: Those who have no desire for the public to know about their animal welfare record," said The Honorable Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the AZA. "AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos pride themselves in not only adhering to, but also in exceeding, the Animal Welfare Act and its regulations. AZA accreditation requires the very highest standards in animal care, and has earned the public's trust and confidence, as reflected by the more than 186 million annual visits to AZA member facilities. This trust and confidence is eroded by efforts that are seemingly intended to shield information from public view."
AZA represents 232 of the world's best and most visited aquariums and zoos. In addition to the regulations enforced by APHIS under the Animal Welfare Act, AZA members may also be subject to the regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Lacey Act, and all applicable state and local animal welfare laws. In addition to complying with government regulations, AZA members are required to follow all AZA accreditation standards and can be inspected at any time....