United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Today, February 24, 2017, APHIS is posting the inspection reports for registrants (including certain research facilities, and intermediate handlers and carriers that move animals) the Agency regulates under the Animal Welfare Act. The reports posted are part of a comprehensive review of the documents the Agency removed from its website in early February and are in the same redacted form as before.
To conduct the review, the entire agency search tool database was taken off line. As announced on Feb. 7, 2017, the agency will continue to review records and determine which information is appropriate for reposting.
APHIS is committed to ensuring the welfare of animals and continues to carry out the critical day-to-day work of ensuring the humane treatment of vulnerable animals through unannounced inspections, pre-compliance visits, horse protection inspections, and other activities.
On Feb. 17, 2017, APHIS posted the first batch of annual reports of research institutions and inspection reports for certain Federal research facilities that the Agency regulates under the Animal Welfare Act. The reports posted are part of a comprehensive review of the documents the Agency removed from its website in early February and are in the same redacted form as before. The reposted information can be found on our website, here. As announced on Feb. 7, 2017, the agency will continue to review records and determine which information is appropriate for reposting.
Editor’s Note (Revised Feb. 7, 2017) The review of APHIS’ website has been ongoing, and the agency is striving to balance the need for transparency with rules protecting individual privacy. In 2016, well before the change of Administration, APHIS decided to make adjustments to the posting of regulatory records. In addition, APHIS is currently involved in litigation concerning, among other issues, information posted on the agency’s website. While the agency is vigorously defending against this litigation, in an abundance of caution, the agency is taking additional measures to protect individual privacy. These decisions are not final. Adjustments may be made regarding information appropriate for release and posting.
Courts are continuously issuing decisions that provide agencies with guidance on interpreting and applying laws applicable to the release of information to the public by the Federal government, including the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice maintains comprehensive guidance involving the Privacy Act, Freedom of Information Act, and other laws, and updates such guidance based on legal developments. APHIS, with the support from the Office of the General Counsel, continuously monitors these sources of information and makes refinements to APHIS’ practices, as needed.
Based on our commitment to being transparent, remaining responsive to our stakeholders’ informational needs, and maintaining the privacy rights of individuals, APHIS is implementing actions to remove documents it posts on APHIS’ website involving the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) that contain personal information. These documents include inspection reports, research facility annual reports, regulatory correspondence (such as official warnings), lists of regulated entities, and enforcement records (such as pre-litigation settlement agreements and administrative complaints) that have not received final adjudication. In addition, APHIS will review and redact, as necessary, the lists of licensees and registrants under the AWA, as well as lists of designated qualified persons (DQPs) licensed by USDA-certified horse industry organizations to ensure personal information is not released to the general public.
Those seeking information from APHIS regarding inspection reports, research facility annual reports, regulatory correspondence, and enforcement records should submit Freedom of Information Act requests for that information. Records will be released when authorized and in a manner consistent with the FOIA and Privacy Act. If the same records are frequently requested via the Freedom of Information Act process, APHIS may post the appropriately redacted versions to its website. In addition, some enforcement records (such as initial decision and orders, default decisions, and consent decisions) are available on the USDA’s Office of Administrative Law Judge’s website (https://www.oaljdecisions.dm.usda.gov).
Notice:If you have any questions or concerns regarding the procedures and requirements for exporting animals, animal products, or to obtain a zoosanitary certificate for an animal product, you should contact the VS Field Office covering the area from where the animal or product will be exported (or the area in which your office is located).
Animal Products to China
Animal products exported to China should be exported using the fillable “Export Certificate for Animal Products” VS Form 16-4 MAR 2010. This is the only electronically generated VS 16-4 that China will allow, and it is the only version of the VS 16-4 that will be endorsed by VS after October 31, 2010.* Please see “Notice to Exporters” on the home page of the International Animal Product Export Regulations (IREGs) for access to the VS Form 16-4 MAR 2010 and the VS Form 16-4A MAR 2010 (continuation page), as well as general instructions:
NOTE: The Special Administrative Regions of China (Hong Kong and Macau) have import requirements separate from China. For known import protocols for Hong Kong, please visit the International Animal Product Regulations (IREGs) page for Hong Kong. For non-posted animal product requirements for Hong Kong and for all animal product requirements for Macau, exporters should work with their importers in these respective regions