Days after Donald Trump took the oath of office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture placed a ban on scientists and other employees division from sharing information and findings with the public.
In the past, the USDA researchers often shared summaries of scientific papers and tweeted out USDA information. Now under Trump’s administration, a gag order has been put into effect until further notice.
According to report by BuzzFeed News, the USDA sent an email to staff at the agency’s main in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), to cease all communication about taxpayer-funded research.
“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for ARS, wrote in an email shared with BuzzFeed News.
“This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds and social media content,” she added.
This most likely means the Trump administration will be making changes to the policies and research initiatives surrounding the workers of the agency.
Additionally, many are confused by this order because the work done by the department is not typically rooted in political ideologies. However, the Obama administration did oversee that the Agriculture Department put research money into finding ways of cutting down the release of methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas from cows, which contributes to climate change.
Most importantly, this is dangerous because information is being kept from the people who are paying for the research. Taxpayer money funds the experiments done by scientists in the department. These findings help people to know about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other changes in their food and environment.
If the Trump presidency continues as it has begun, there’s no doubt much of the public will demand full transparency of information.
(Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)