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USDA settles suit, opens access to animal-research reports
The USDA again will provide access to annual reports for facilities conducting animal research.
-- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) again will provide access to annual reports for facilities conducting animal research.
The USDA says it will make the information available to the public in a timely manner and electronically.
The decision comes after the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) sued the USDA in 2005 under the Freedom of Information Act, charging it with "failing to provide HSUS with numerous reports required by the Animal Welfare Act concerning painful animal experiments conducted without anesthetics or other pain or distress relief measures."
Enforced by the USDA, the Animal Welfare Act covers the care and handling of warm-blooded animals other than laboratory-bred mice, rats and birds at registered research institutions and licensed animal dealer facilities. An amendment to the Animal Welfare Act in 1970 required the submission of annual reports by research institutions.
In 2001, the HSUS filed a request with the USDA for documents related to pain and distress in laboratory animals. Unsatisfied with the outcome of that request, HSUS filed the suit in 2005.
The current settlement requires USDA to provide access to the annual reports and show on its Web site which facilities did not submit them.