The Animal Welfare Act sets minimum standards of animal care by four main types of licensees: commercial animal dealers, exhibitors (such as zoos), research facilities, and transporters. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) tries to make sure licensees meet those standards, and issues violation citations when they do not. 

The agency provides an online portal containing its inspections but, frustratingly, no option to download the full dataset. The portal’s structured data also lack important information, such as the type of inspection and the list of species inspected — information that is available only in the inspection report PDFs.

The Data Liberation Project collaborated with Big Local News’s Ben Welsh to fetch the 80,000+ published inspection reports, parse the PDFs, and make the records all-around more useful.

We’re providing these main resources in the project’s GitHub repository (and also automatically updating them in the portal):

We’ve also uploaded all the inspection report PDFs to a public, searchable project on DocumentCloud.

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