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The USDA removed Animal Welfare Act violations from their site – SO?!

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Without legislation to show us cases of animal cruelty, how will everyday animal exploiters feel better about continuing with their use of animals?

This week, everyone is up in arms that the US Government has pulled down public access to records of Animal Welfare Act violations. No seriously, everyone. The Dodo, The Washington Post, VegNews, and National Geographic joined in a collective freakout that without one-click access to the ways zoos, breeders, factory farms and laboratories break welfare laws, there won’t be material to help further the divide between those animal abusers and ones following along. There’ll also be much less material to post on the day-to-day for those who love to share the “victories” of the act.

Let’s back up. If you’re not familiar with the Animal Welfare Act, or my general opinion it, it’s a load of federal bunk set up to make people believe that it’s possible to regulate the treatment of animals (as property) for research and exhibition. Previously, the USDA was happy to hang the SeaWorld’s and Ringling Bros of the world (ie: the hot-to-hate institutions) in their virtual gallows. For the press, it meant an easy way to get a Facebook share about ending whale shows, or rabbit testing, or whale-rabbit test showing from people who still don’t think killing a cow is in any way as bad as whomever will be the star of the next it documentary. I mean, look at what this awful person does, and remember at least you’re not that bad.

So the USDA is claiming this is all to protect people’s privacy, despite us suspecting the Government really doesn’t have everyone’s privacy at the top of it’s priorities. So when all these outlets cry out, it’s been in a coo to gather the troops to fight for the right to transparency. Most are now claiming it’s a shielding of people from the truth, since it now takes a series of intricate requests (and apparently months) to access the same info. But hold on a second, were people using these records to decide if a visit to a zoo was good idea? Are we really to believe that if we don’t see records of people whipping, burning, or strangling any animal in their “care,” we’re all going to assume it doesn’t happen there? This brings the spotlight back to the bread and butter of liberal animal rights media; treatment of animals. Just as we don’t need to see a single horrific second of the expose films, or a Sarah McLaughlin soundtracked informercial, we already know that anyone who profits off of the use of animals doesn’t have their interests in mind. We already know that animals are treated inappropriately as property.

It doesn’t take googling a thing to recognize that animals are sacrificed for the sake of profits, products, or meals for people where it is completely and utterly unnecessary. Were the interest of the animals the real motivation causing these upturned pitchforks, the cacophony of commentary would centre on the need to free all animals from human persecution, whether that be in experimentation, entertainment, or otherwise. It would be a call to dismantle the very notion that we can regulate the use of another living being, not the near begging that those who allow animals to be commodified be more “honest” with people.

What the citizens deserve is the knowledge and understanding that Government, like all industry, works out of the interest of making money. They don’t want to see a decline in support for animal industries, because they profit off of them. Supporting the Animal Welfare Act and those who uphold it is to say that you’re totally cool with people carrying on with exploitation and killing, as long as it’s done in a way that’s reasonable to the average-exploiters expectations and that’s not hidden. It’s insane. Comforting each other by saying “it’s a step” or “at least they didn’t suffer before they died” serves not a single soul facing the hoop, the needle, or the slaughterhouse. If removing the information protects animal exploiters (another common accusation), then it does so in only a fraction of the way the Animal Welfare Act does. The violation isn’t in whether the curtain is opaque or transparent, but in whether or not we have chosen to open up our own eyes first.

There are plenty, and I mean plenty of reasons to rise up against the incredible actions of the current US Government, but begging them to return access to these records will only stand to help those unjustly segregating the use and treatment of the animals that are both recognized and unrecognized by legislation. The only way to demand justice here is to promote abolitionist veganism. Our individual refusal to use another living being, for any reason, means never giving weight to the treatment of an animal – and always focusing on their freedom. Change doesn’t come from helping exploiters do things differently, it comes from removing the demand for the products and services they sacrifice lives for.

If you hate to read about animal abuse from these news outlets, you already have all the cause you need to go vegan. Our governing bodies will continue to regulate animal use, and do it publicly and privately for their benefit, until we say enough is enough.

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