Animal Info Sanctuary

is creating an animal documents archive




per month

About Animal Info Sanctuary

Hi, I'm Russ Kick -- writer, anthologist, investigative archivist, and transparency activist -- and I've been making government documents more available to people since 2002, mainly by filing non-stop Freedom of Information Act requests and posting the documents I get.

I do this to force transparency and hold those in power accountable.
My primary outlet for this for years was The Memory Hole, and now it's AltGov2. My work has been covered on the New York Times front page, all the news channels, Los Angeles Times, CBS Evening News, Daily Beast, ProPublica, and elsewhere.

In February 2017, the main federal agency in charge of animal welfare suddenly pulled tens of thousands of documents offline. I immediately started reposting them. Luckily, 1) I had a bunch already on my computer from earlier research and 2) activists started sending me what they had collected. Within days I had put 5,000 records back online. This got a lot of media attention -- Rachel Maddow, Time, Politico, National Geographic, and others covered my reposting crusade.

That planted a seed that has now bloomed. I want to create a website that's all animal documents, all the time. Why?

* To find out how animals are being treated at zoos, laboratories, racetracks, slaughterhouses, shelters, K-9 units, etc.

* To see how they're being treated by humans in the wild, whether that means "trophy" hunting in Africa, round-ups of wild horses in the American West, or ships colliding with whales at sea.

* To keep tabs on the government agencies that are supposed to be protecting animals: APHIS, OLAW, FWS, NOAA Fisheries, state racing commissions, local animal control agencies, and many others. How do they go about their mission, and are they doing it well? 

* To provide oversight of the agencies whose role is to mistreat animals. This mainly means government and military laboratories, as well as Wildlife Services, which kills well over 2 million animals per year.

I do this several ways:

* Prying loose and posting lots of documents through hundreds of groundbreaking Freedom of Information Act requests, city/state-level requests, and requests to other countries.

*  Safeguarding what's already available by mirroring it, so that it can't disappear again.

*  Giving a permanent, prominent home to documents that I dig up in obscure government databases, which often aren't indexed by Google or other search engines.
The thing is, all of this takes an enormous amount of time:

* Doing the research to find out what to request
* Writing and sending the requests
* Clarifying the requests
* Pushing back on delays, excessive fees, and other stonewalling
* Appealing rejections
* Logging and keeping track of requests from cradle to posting
* Reading through the documents
* Highlighting important revelations
* Writing up background info for the documents
* Preparing documents for posting, then uploading them
* Discussing on social media

Please support much-needed oversight and transparency for animals that I provide on Animal Info Sanctuary. 
Any amount is helpful. Even $1/month pledges add up.

Thank you.

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