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Currently the Animal Care Information System Search Tool located at (http://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASearch/faces/CustomerSearch.jspx) provides visitors with the ability to perform a number of queries against Animal and Plant Health Inspection Reports. It is a fairly robust tool for getting info on reports that have been logged as little as 3 days ago. However it does not, to my knowledge, permit programmatic access and I have not seen where an API is available.

If you have any knowledge of how I might gain access to the data in these reports to create my own queries, say a REST API, or if there is a regular dump of this data made somewhere, please let me know!

I checked on data.gov. There was a link that pointed to a zip file of PDF files. These files, also visible when drilling into results on the Search page, are image based PDF files making them impossible to read with a screen reader even let alone a scraper. At any rate that is now a dead link. The email contact for the data bounces and the webmaster email for the APHIS site also bounces.

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It's likely not want you are hoping for, but that website is an API, just an undocumented poorly designed one. You'll want to make easier to work with by writing a screen scraper.

It looks like at least one other person, maybe you, is working on one at ScraperWiki https://scraperwiki.com/scrapers/aphisacis/

  • I don't think this is an API. Can you substantiate that somehow..please :) It would violate the site's terms of service to use a screen scraper and it would also be a whole lot of processing to get to the data I want, although as a last desperate attempt it may need to happen. Data is published rapidly to the site so trying to keep the data fresh would be impossible and that would not be right to display stale data about a licensee's status of Non-Compliance. I'm eager to hear about anyone's experience with this data and if they know of a bulk GET method or otherwise. – user1149168 Jun 11 '13 at 22:33
  • I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek. The website was not designed to be an API, but it will allow programmatic access to the data if you write a scraper. As far as the terms of service, I could only find this page usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/… which did not disallow scraping. It may be a lot of work, but that seems to be only barrier. Not saying it's not a substantial barrier. – fgregg Jun 12 '13 at 17:01
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Absent a better solution, you could try just calling over there. The employee directory here: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/mrpbs/contact_us/downloads/mrpbs_service_directory.pdf provides phone numbers for a number of folks. Looking for Ms. McDermott's name in there leads me to think you'll want to call the Investigative and Enforcement Services division. Or, hey, just call the CIO. At least that way you might get pointed to someone you can speak with.

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Here's a repository with data up til 2016-01; I want to say its all there, but there maybe a few things missing. still, its a lot of data, 1.6gb.
USDA APHIS Data dump

Here's a list of licenses through 2016-01. There is a scraper there too, although that's kind of moot now that USDA pulled the plug on it.
License (CSV)

The bulk data is mostly PDFs, image-based at that. We tried OCR (tesseract) but couldn't get it exactly right to get the data out neatly.

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