Recently, AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) reported on a troublesome amendment to the U.S. Senate FY 2020 combined “minibus” Appropriations Bill that would mirror a U.S. House proposal removing certain privacy protections for USDA licensed pet breeders.
We are pleased to report that the proposal failed in the Senate bill. However, the troublesome language does remain in the House bill, and could be considered in a future House-Senate conference on final bill language. AKC urges all animal owners concerned about security and privacy to contact U.S. House Appropriations Committee members and respectfully urge that efforts to remove redactions of private breeder information in USDA databases (Sec 760) not be advanced in conference.
Scroll Down for contact information for members of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.
HR 3164 provides appropriations for FY 2020 for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and related agencies and programs. As reported out of House Appropriations, it includes new language (sec 760) that would require APHIS to restore public web access to non-redacted versions of USDA breeder inspection reports, animal inventories, and personally identifiable information including breeder addresses. Some of this information existed on the USDA website prior to 2017, but was removed, redacted and replaced to address privacy issues. AKC believes adding personal information is not necessary for assuring animal welfare. Moreover, it could dampen efforts to improve licensing compliance and the welfare oversight of animals in licensed facilities.
Additionally, the House Appropriations Committee Managers Report for HR 3164 recommends discontinuing the ability of USDA/ APHIS inspectors to provide “teachable moments” to help otherwise compliant breeder improve operations in areas of non-compliance that do not impact the health and welfare of animals. AKC believes that “teachable moments” help build expertise among licensees while improving overall operations and improving transparency between USDA and its licensees. Discontinuing “teachable moments” will reduce transparency and opportunities for licensees to improve their operations.
In the last week of October, a proposed amendment to the Senate version of the Agriculture Appropriations bill that would have included the troublesome aspects of the House version into the Senate version of the bill was defeated. However, House and Senate Conferees could meet soon to reconcile the two versions into a final appropriations bill. AKC will continue to advocate against the troublesome aspects of the House bill.
What You Can Do
AKC urges all animal owners concerned about security and privacy to contact U.S. House Appropriations Committee members and respectfully urge that misguided efforts to remove redactions of private breeder information in USDA databases not be advanced in the final conference version of the FY 2020 Agricultural Appropriations bill.
Members of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture:
Sanford Bishop Jr., Chairman (GA, 2)
Rosa DeLauro (CT, 3)
Chellie Pingree (ME, 1)
Mark Pocan (WI, 2)
Barbara Lee (CA, 13)
Betty McCollum (MN, 4)
Henry Cuellar (TX, 28)
Jeff Fortenberry, Ranking Member (NE, 1)
Robert Aderholt (AL, 4)
Andy Harris (MD, 1)
John Moolenaar (MI, 4)