A Sufficient Life

Proposed Changes to the Animal Welfare Act

Posted by Shannon on June 27, 2012 at 5:30 PM

If you have not read the ACTUAL proposed changes to the

Animal Welfare Act which is administered by the USDA and APHIS,

here they are:


My three biggest concerns with the proposed changes to the

Animal Welfare Act administered by the USDA and APHIS are:

1) "Specifically, we would narrow the definition of retail pet store so that it

means a place of business or residence that each buyer physically enters in

order to personally observe the animals available for sale prior to purchase

and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase, and where only certain

animals are sold or offered for sale, at retail, for use as pets." 

[Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003]

I don't know about you, but I don't want to have to let anyone and everyone onto

my property. During a teleconference held with the Show Rabbit Protection

Society, Dr. Gerald Rushin of the USDA/APHIS, one of the drafter's of the

proposed legislative changes, told SRPS members that

"We just want to make sure that people who are buying your animals, have the

opportunity to check out the condition of those animals, and if they don't, if htey

are being sold over the internet, then APHIS comes into play, by that rule and will

check out the conditions of the animals, before they are sold. So as long as those

people are having the opportunity to come in and view your pets, even if they are in

seperate location, but they see your pet, you are good to go."

This seems to indicate that meeting the potential buyer offsite and allowing

them to see the animal before purchase also meets the "retail pet store"

definition, as long as there is face to face contact. This needs to be spelled

out in the proposed legislative changes.

2)" We are also proposing to increase from three to four the number of breeding

female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals that a person may

maintain on his or her premises and be exempt from the licensing and inspection

requirements."[Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003] 

There is no way a commercial rabbit breeder can break even with only 4 breeding

females. That may be enough for someone that is only breeding for their family's

use, but anyone that breeds to sell for any reason, will need more than 4

breeding females.


In the teleconference transcript, Mary Hammond of the SRPS ask this,

"I want to  confirm, just a minute, let me find it, the three to four breeding female limit

does not apply to rabbits."

To which Dr. Rushin replied, "That does not apply to rabbits."


NOWHERE in the proposed legislative changes does it say rabbits are excluded.

This also needs to be spelled out clearly.

3)" A person may...be exempt from the licensing and inspection requirements...if

he or she sells only the offspring of those animals born and raised on his or

her premises, for pets or exhibition. This exemption would apply regardless of

whether those animals are sold at retail or wholesale." [Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003]


What if I want to later sell an animal that I purchased, after using it in my

program? It was not born here....am I not allowed then to sell it without having

my exemption taken away?


In the teleconference, this question was raised by Mary Hammond of the SRPS and

answered by Ms. Jones and Dr. Rushin of the USDA:


Hammond: Now since rabbits don't fall under the three to four breeding females,

are they also exempt from the requirement to only sell what is born and raised

on the property issue?

Jones: Which regulation are you citing?

Hammond: the individual only will sell that which is born and raised, for

example, let's go back to the heritage breeds. I purchase an a breeding buck for

the purpose of widening my gene pool, the goal is accomplished and I want to

resell him, am I now, because that buck was not born and raised on my property,

going to need a license to resell?

Jones: I don't have the passage in front of me, but the only place we discuss, as I recall, animals born

and raised on the property, is the proposed four female rule, so that would probably still fall

under that rule.

Rushin: Correct.

Hammond: So that does not apply to rabbits.

Rushin: Right. That is correct.


This would also seem to indicate that they don't mean this portion of the

proposed changes to apply to rabbits, which again, is not ANYWHERE in the

document and also needs to be spelled out clearly in the proposed legislative


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