Why Does Donald Trump Hate Puppies?
When it’s not inspecting your meat and grading your eggs, the USDA also certifies dog breeders. Being a USDA certified dog breeder isn’t terribly difficult and the bar for how the dogs are treated isn’t tremendously high, but when breeders fall short of the federal standard they get written up. If you, your state, or your local government is conscientious about how animals are treated, you can look at those write-ups to get an idea of how various dog breeders treat their animals.
Or you could.
Shortly after President Trump took office, however, the USDA stopped providing information about breeder citations. Just to avoid any confusion, this is not to say that, under Trump, the USDA doesn’t track this information anymore or doesn’t respond to requests for it. It still does those things. Technically.
In May of last year, the Tampa Bay Times asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide the three most recent inspections of 15 puppy breeders who supply Tampa-area stores. It took nine months, but the reply arrived last week: 54 pages of total blackout
It is difficult to imagine either the incompetence or malice necessary to make that happen. The report requested by the Tampa Bay Times was entirely blacked out. “Every word of every inspection,” is how the Times described it: dates, violation details, names, everything.
In effect, the USDA under Trump made it impossible for states, localites, businesses, and even individuals to tell the difference between an upstanding breeder that misfiled some paperwork and one that forced animals to stand in cages full of standing water and feces.
Regrettably, this is not a new story. While the story in the Tampa Bay Times shows that even requesting reports from the USDA accomplishes nothing, the Washington Post was writing about the USDA purge of animal welfare information more than a year ago.
According to the Post, all of this information — inspection dates, violation details, etc — has been removed from public access and is now locked up behind the Freedom of Information Act process. That is to say, it’s available, but the process to gain access to it now takes years. By that time, the damage is already done.
Tell Congress What You Think
The USDA only gets to censor its inspection reports because Congress lets it do so. Tell your Senators and Representatives what you think about this or any other issue in politics. Text RESIST to 50409. Or, if SMS isn’t your style, you can contact your government by talking to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Twitter.
This headline is deliberately tongue in cheek. Neither the author nor Resistbot thinks President Trump actually dislikes puppies. We’re not sure if he’s a dog person but, if he is, our bet is that he’d like a _[Borzoi](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borzoi)._