Lilian Min
Updated Feb 19, 2017 @ 11:20 am
animal farm
Credit: Hallmark Films

In the first few days of the new administration, members of the public noticed that the new White House website was missing some, um, issues. Pages related to climate change and LGBTQ rights totally disappeared. Though this kind of page disappearance is pretty common in website revamps, it’s notable that the White House website hasn’t replaced any of them.

So when the United States Department of Agriculture website deleted their entire public record of animal abuse data, people took notice.

The USDA later claimed that the data wipe was to protect the privacy of the people named within. What exactly was in this data? Gizmodo phrases it as such:

Now why would the public want to know about organizations and individuals that break those laws? The claim about privacy is a bit besides the point now, as those records had been up. Furthermore, the data included names of known violators. We aren’t just talking about animal abuses within research institutions or entertainment production companies. For example, when you adopt a puppy, you want to make sure it’s not coming from a puppy mill.

Activists and industry watchdogs used that USDA data to hold violators accountable. It was only after they brought those deletions to light that the USDA reinstated some, but not all, of that data. Their new statement claims that the deletion was just for the purpose of review. Until (if) that ever happens, the blog The Memory Hole 2 is collecting and continuing to search for all of that data.