“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Healthy Spot is resolute in its commitment to elevating the standard of care and treatment of animals. As a business that was founded, in part, on the belief that our pets are our family, and which values transparency as a fundamental business principle, we cannot remain silent in our concern over the decision by the new administration to purge the United States Department of Agriculture website of animal welfare information – including inspection reports about the treatment of animals in research labs, zoos, breeding centers and other facilities. While the USDA states the agency is “committed to being transparent,” it explains this change is needed to maintain the privacy rights of individuals. We find the agency’s solution extremely troubling, and see little to no positive benefit to individuals or the public.
Further, this action has the potential to provide a safe harbor for the commission of animal welfare violations – including those unethical and/or unlawful practices exposed by investigators and made public, in part, via the USDA website. It is difficult to imagine how the decision to render this information inaccessible to the public supports the stated goal of “transparency.” The inability to access these reports undermines the ability of animal welfare and advocacy groups, businesses, and individuals to maintain the political, social, and financial pressures on violators and government to drive the changes we seek.
Animals already have no voice, and this may further silence the abuses and animal welfare violations in our industry. We resist this change. It is not a policy we can support.
Mark and Andrew