Belfast Telegraph

Rooney Mara slams U.S. Department of Agriculture over animal welfare silencing

The Lion star has accused government officials of being deceptive.

Actress Rooney Mara has condemned U.S. Department of Agriculture bureaucrats for removing animal facility reports from the agency's official government website.

In early February (17) administrators for the federal body removed thousands of inspection reports and data from the USDA website concerning laboratories, zoos, puppy mills, horse breeders and other sites charged with caring for wildlife.

Some of the information purged from the USDA website includes records about companies or people who have violated laws like the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act, and animal activist Rooney is disgusted with the lack of transparency.

In a letter obtained by PageSix that Mara addressed to Kevin Shea, federal administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Lion star wrote: “We are told to trust your agency to monitor the welfare of animals, but how does it look when you deceptively remove information that we are privy to as taxpayers and as consumers who care deeply about animal welfare? Really, really bad."

Mara added: “Without public inspection records, The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups will have great difficulty obtaining the information they need to press for strong enforcement. And enforcement is badly needed.

“The USDA oversees 9,000 commercial animal enterprises. You have restored inspection reports for a tiny fraction of these facilities, continuing to deprive the public of information regarding compliance with federal animal protection laws."

The 31-year-old The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo actress went on to accuse officials of trying to hide something through their mass deletions.

“Your purge of records indicates you are not on the animals’ side as you are hired by taxpayers to be," she contended, "Rather, it seems like you’re covering up the appalling misdeeds of puppy mills, zoos, research facilities, and those who abuse horses.”

USDA officials insist the removal of inspection reports is simply part of a "comprehensive review" that was launched nearly a year ago.

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