The removal of the information comes a day after a bipartisan bill - known as the Federal Accountability in Chemical Testing (FACT) Act (HR 816), which would require labs to disclose how many animals they are using for testing- was introduced by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.). The timing of the events sounded alarms for Goodman.
"We were already concerned about a severe lack of transparency about animal experiments that are conducted and funded by the government, as were a growing bipartisan group of Congress members," Goodman said. "So it's particularly alarming that the day after ... the bill was introduced, the government decided to disappear the minimal information that was already available. It's possible that it's a coincidence, of course, but it doesn't make any less alarming."
Of the 9,000 facilities that involve animals protected by the AWA, roughly 1,200 are labs, many of which use taxpayer money to run their experiments.
Both Republicans and Democrats supporting the bill think that anything that could help cut down on wasted money and wasted animal lives would be a no-brainer. So sharing information about how many animals are used for scientific testing each year - a number that's been hard to track across the U.S., but could be as high as 100 million - could help make this possible.
Goodman says this is a concern for more than just lab regulation transparency.
"This covers every single breeder, circus, zoo, animal transporter across the country," Goodman said. "Every entity regulated under the Animal Welfare Act that the USDA published information about in terms of compliance and animal use - all of that information is now gone. SeaWorld, for instance, Ringling - all of that is gone."
This is what the USDA page concerning the AWA looks like now: