For animal lovers, it’s heartening that a lot of legal progress has been made to ensure our furry friends’ safety.

After the Animal Welfare Act was passed, we experienced a new level of transparency regarding animal abuse in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regularly posted inspection reports from zoos, breeders, factory farms, and laboratories on their website. This allowed both citizens and journalists to track violations and avoid supporting those who abuse animals.

But since the administration changeover, the USDA website was scrubbed of all these documents. Here’s why that’s a big deal for anyone who loves their pets and wants accountability for criminals charged with animal abuse.

Journalists and animal welfare organizations relied on the information made public by the USDA in order to document crimes as per the Animal Welfare Act. Without this information, it could take years to find out about a specific location’s abuse, and by then, it may be too late.

The USDA site used to help identify, for example, roadside zoos where violations were occurring. Investigations have exposed illegal importation of animals, poor sanitation, inadequate shelter, feces-ridden food, pens too small for movement, and premature death at these places.

One roadside zoo called DEW Haven was scheduled to have a reality show on Animal Planet until the USDA’s documents exposed the abuse happening there. DEW Haven is still open, and now, there will be no way to keep track of what they’re doing.

Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/usda-documents/