HLS/USDA FOIA Victory
In 2002, IDA filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to obtain documents regarding their investigation of the notorious toxicology lab Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). HLS then "intervened" and joined in as a second defendant. Seven years later...we won!
In the first trial in years involving the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), IDA won on every count -- forcing the USDA to disclose 1,017 pages of records.
What was in these records? These 1,017 pages contain test results, Animal Care and Use Committee minutes, descriptions of the lives of primates in toxicology experiments, requests for veterinary care, and reports from necropsies - or animal autopsies. Why did HLS and the USDA fight so hard to keep them secret? There is no doubt that they will reveal the unspeakable horrors of life in a toxicology lab - considering that they constitute the USDA’s evidence of multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act by HLS.
As a last-ditch effort, HLS claimed that it had voluntarily submitted its records to the USDA, despite multiple admissions in court to the contrary. To add insult to injury, they made this voluntary submission claim on the eve of trial. Thankfully, the presiding judge rejected this as an "untimely argument that was clearly inconsistent with the position [HLS] had maintained for years." He also stated that the defendants (USDA and HLS) had come "mighty close" to "blatantly contradicting the record."
Although the judge ruled in our favor, USDA and HLS have appealed the decision. Thus, IDA has still not received the records. However, Research Director Eric Kleiman states that IDA remains committed to winning these documents:
"This victory is the latest in a long line of IDA campaigns that often take years...No matter how long, IDA will continue to persevere on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves."
IDA has already spent tens of thousands of dollars on the lawsuit - and we aren’t going to give up the fight. Click here to make a donation that will help support IDA's legal battles.