The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is pleased to announce the rollout of the refined public search tool that provides access to Animal Welfare Act compliance records. The public search tool is a component of the Animal Care Information System (ACIS) and will allow APHIS to make animal welfare information publicly available and ensure compliance with all applicable laws*.
In July 2016, APHIS formally initiated a comprehensive review and update of Animal Care’s website, publications, and correspondence to eliminate out of date content, improve the information provided, and balance its commitment to transparency with applicable laws, including rules protecting personal privacy.
The ACIS search tool was taken offline for review on February 3, 2017. During this review, APHIS reposted annual reports of animal research facilities as well as many inspection reports. The reports were posted on a rolling basis in February, March, April, and June 2017.
The refinements to the ACIS search tool are detailed in this chart and remain ongoing to promote the user experience. As part of our comprehensive website review, APHIS is continuing to review animal inventories that accompany inspection reports for accuracy. For this reason, the newly posted inspection reports do not include animal inventories, but APHIS intends to make this information available in the future.
APHIS is offering the ACIS search tool to the public to provide information on APHIS’ performance of its statutory duties under the Animal Welfare Act, in accordance with privacy laws. A comprehensive User Guide for the ACIS search tool is available at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/acis/AC-Public-Search-Tool-Users-Guide.pdf. The public may also request additional Animal Welfare Act records from APHIS through the Freedom of Information Act.
*See, e.g. ,Animal Legal Def. Fund v. United States Dep’t of Agric., 17-CV-00949-WHO, 2017 WL 2352009 (N.D. Cal., May 31, 2017) and Animal Legal Def. Fund, v. United States Dep’t of Agric., 17-CV-00949-WHO (N.D. Cal., August 14, 2017)