NEW JERSEY (FOX5NY) - Senator Bob Menendez(D-NJ) is blaming the Trump administration for removing data and inspections reports on breeders who abuse animals from the internet. But the Department of Agriculture says the information was removed because of a privacy lawsuit and the review process for removing the data started more than a year ago.
At issue is animal welfare reports on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service pages of the United States Department of Agriculture site.
Animal rights advocates claim the information was purged to protect bad breeders.
Menendez says he is spearheading efforts to return what he considers vital information to the website. He is one of 18 senators who sent the USDA a letter asking for the records to be restored.
But the Agriculture Department posted a statement about the removal. It states: "The review of APHIS’ website has been ongoing, and the agency is striving to balance the need for transparency with rules protecting individual privacy. In 2016, well before the change of Administration, APHIS decided to make adjustments to the posting of regulatory records. In addition, APHIS is currently involved in litigation concerning, among other issues, information posted on the agency’s website. While the agency is vigorously defending against this litigation, in an abundance of caution, the agency is taking additional measures to protect individual privacy. These decisions are not final. Adjustments may be made regarding information appropriate for release and posting."