The other night I received messages from a friend on FB that was of urgency. The USDA had "scrubbed" all information on Animal Abuse violators from its website, and it was the work of none other than the DIABOLICAL and EVIL DONALD TRUMP!
"The Media" was on fire with reports of how he hated puppies, and that our pets were no longer safe. They claimed that the administration was trying to hide things. For example, Obama Fanboy, Keith Olbermann voiced his outrage, hoping to straighten out would-be supporters of President Trump.
I was so upset I wrote a scathing article. I couldn't believe that all these animal abusers would be shielded from public view.
Animal rights groups, zoos, dog shelters, and so many of my FB friends were up in arms over this. A movement was on to call the USDA and demand for this information to be put back.
I read various news articles from sources looking for information. What I found being reported was the "scrubbing" of a single incident of a lawsuit brought by a couple of horse owners who were investigated and found using techniques of "soring" on their horses' legs was violating their privacy. Soring is the use of caustic chemicals on the legs to create a higher gate in shows.
I was flabbergasted that ONE SINGLE lawsuit could cause such a reaction.
So, I took action and called the USDA. I explained to them I was researching this and wanted to know what was removed from the website, who ordered it, and why. I spoke with Tanya Espinosa, a Public Affairs Specialist in Legislative and Public Affairs, who explained to me, that the USDA took off the LINK to INSPECTION REPORTS based on the guidance from the Office of General Counsel and the Department of Justice. This had nothing to do with Trump or his administration.
From what I gathered, they are under constant litigation concerning Federal Privacy Act laws which costs precious tax dollars. She went on to explain the link was a VOLUNTARY one to these inspection reports.
No records have been scrubbed or removed from the website. They have not been erased as so many people are being told. The INSPECTION REPORTS are easily found with some reading:
1. Visit www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/home/
2. Click on the words: Animal Welfare
3. Click on the words: Enforcement Actions
4a. One is a link to another webpage...oh isn't this just fun? It's to the USDA’s Office of Administrative Law Judge’s Website where actual rulings are taken place of litigation of alleged Animal Welfare Violators (BINGO).
4b. The other link is to one that requires some work to be done...but it you can do it. It is for the process of filing for Freedom of Information Act requests.
I guess my only concern at this point after chatting with Tanya, is why the previous Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack didn't instruct the USDA to do this under his tenure considering this is an old issue. Maybe it was because it was easier to do it the last days of his office so that the liberal, partisan media would create a scandal there was none, in order to try and make the Trump Administration look corrupt.
I sent this information to my FBF and she wasn't happy. I'm disappointed in a way that even some Trump people are demanding convenience over the law. I thought that was a specific Snowflake attribute. Things are not always easy, and what has happened has hurt no one.
What I find embarrassing, is the way how was sucked into the emotional vacuum. As a new citizen journalist, I didn't use my common sense radar to do research and go to the source. Oh, wait...there are people that MAKE A DECENT living with MILLIONS of followers that have degrees in Journalism who continue to write half-truths and complete lies and call it news. And even when they print the "truth," they still manage to twist it.
I'm old school— to quote Pink Floyd, I "don't need no education" to know that the media coverage of this stinks!