A kakistocracy is defined as “government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens”. We are experiencing a systematic scrubbing, deleting, and shredding of all sorts of data from climate science, law enforcement training to homeland security documents. Now, USDA animal welfare inspection records and reports have also been removed from the relevant websites. According to the government, this serial hiding of information was necessary to create transparency!
The government maintains that all this information can be obtained easily through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Any member of the public or consumer who has requested information this way knows that the process could take forever, the material, if produced, may be heavily redacted, or the information is simply not found. The latter is certainly likely if the records are deleted and destroyed!
Anyone interested in animal welfare, in eating food, or in attending an exhibit involving animals could check these sites to see inspection reports. Those of us in law enforcement use that information to inform state violations, assess patterns of mistreatment and to propose legislation. Conversely, those bodies regulated by USDA could use the same information to rebut unsubstantiated claims of cruelty and malfeasance by unscrupulous entities.
This is not a move towards transparency, but it is rather the building of a wall that we will pay for dearly. This includes those special interest groups that like this now, but will not later, when the worm turns.
The kakistocracy are public servants who are employed by us and who must show us their work product. We must demand this and make it so.
spcaLA urges all those who would see animals provided basic care to contact their elected officials and insist that the USDA reports be restored.