Animal rights groups ‘shocked’ by changes to USDA website

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Animal rights groups are concerned that the United States Department of Agriculture removed information from its website that names the groups and individuals that have violated certain laws.

“Well, it means that consumers who might be concerned that they don’t want to buy puppies that come from places with USDA violations will not be able to easily access the information,” said Robin Starr, CEO of the Richmond SPCA.

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Starr said removing the information only benefits the lawbreakers.

“The very disturbing thing about this act by the USDA is that the only people that it benefits are the animal abusers,” she said. “It benefits people and companies that have a record of USDA violations, nobody else is helped by it but them.”

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The website states seeking information can file a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA.  The website also explains the USDA removed the information for “transparency” and “to protect individual privacy.”  However, Starr said the removal does just the opposite, “As far privacy issues there is no right of privacy involved here we’re talking about documented violations of USDA regulations,” stated Starr.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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