In a perplexing move, the government shut down the Animal Care Information System in February this year without warning. The database, which was accessible to the public, documented how animals are used in the country’s laboratories and whether these institutions are working within federal law. No reason was given for the shutdown, which makes it even more frustrating for the many animal welfare organizations that relied upon the database in their investigations into animal cruelty. Documents can still be made available through a process of request, but that can take months or longer – too long for animal welfare charities to be effective. Now the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, the PCRM, is leading a lawsuit against the USDA to get the database back on line.