May 6, 2005 • Posted in Related News
Although the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has helped animal protection groups gain access to public information about animals in labs, some government agencies fail to comply with the Act—prompting some groups to take legal action.
In January 2005, after a four-year wait for public information, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for not responding to information requests sent in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Of the documents received in response to the 2001 FOIA request, The HSUS was provided with only 24 of the 1,400 they originally requested.
The public was also denied access to annual reports from registered animal research facilities when the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) stopped posting them online.
The HSUS lawsuit against the USDA is still pending in U.S. District Court (District of Columbia); The HSUS receives a monthly status report regarding fulfillment of the requested documents. However, on May 6 the Department of Justice ordered APHIS to resume its online posting of laboratory annual reports.
Although not all of the reports have been posted, APHIS assures its website visitors that “as the file[s] become available, they will be posted on this page as quickly as possible.”