Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Durbin, Vitter urge regulatory action from Vilsack

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and David Vitter (R-LA), long time supporters of HSUS and its agenda, go to bat yet again for this radical animal rights group. HSUS bill sponsors Durbin and Vitter seek to circumvent Congress in order to impose federal regulation on dog - and other small animal breeders - in the private sector.

In October 2011, Durbin and Vitter wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to urge USDA to amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) through regulatory action, rather than requiring congressional action.

The proposed rule was announced May 10, 2012. Applauding USDA for taking this step, Durbin states, "Today's announcement by the USDA brings much needed oversight to the previously unregulated puppy mills raising puppies under terrible conditions. This rule will put an end to a loophole in the law that was being exploited by large, negligent puppy breeders ..."

Contrary to Durbin's claims, the proposed rule triggers licensing for anyone with 5 or more intact female dogs, cats and small exotic mammals sold as pets - hardly what anyone other than an animal rights activist could term to be a large puppy mill. The scope of the proposed rule is so broad, it captures thousands of individuals who were never intended to be in the scope of the AWA.

Article: Durbin, Vitter commend USDA rule to regulate online puppy sales

Thursday, May 17, 2012

USDA/APHIS Notice of Rulemaking Posted

SAOVA friends,

Historically retail sellers of dogs, cats, and small animal such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, domestic ferrets, and others for use as pets have been considered part of the “retail pet store” exemption and therefore are not required to procure federal licensing. This week APHIS posted a Notice of Rulemaking to revise the retail pet store definition. According to APHIS, the purpose is to modernize the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and allow federal oversight for pets being sold sight unseen via the Internet. The proposed rule will change the definition of retail pet store so that it limits the exemption to only business and residences where buyers physically enter to observe the animals available for sale as pets prior to purchasing them.

Basically the new rules present breeders with few choices: Sell all dogs, cats, and listed small animals only to buyers who physically enter your premises, reduce and maintain the number of breeding females to four (4) including co-ownerships and dogs, cats, etc. shared with family members; OR obtain a license under the Animal Welfare Act, build a federally compliant facility, and allow APHIS inspectors to inspect your homes and facilities.

Selling even one pet off premise via shipping, at a friend's home, at a show, at a park, will result in loss of an exemption from licensing, placing limitations on both buyers and sellers. The narrow limits of the exemption restrict the ability of hobby breeders to work together remotely, sharing dog/cats from litters in order to implement their breeding programs and/or increase diversity in their lines.

This is a proposed rule by an agency, not a law Congress will vote on. The comment period is only for 60 days and APHIS needs to hear how this affects you.

APHIS cannot make a realistic analysis without understanding the dynamics of conflict with existing state/local ordinances and potential impact to small scale breeders that will be created by revising the current exemption.

The transcript of the teleconference hosted by APHIS as the proposed rule was announced should help explain coverage and limitations presented in the proposed rule. Additional information is available at the APHIS website.

A brief analysis is posted at the SAOVA website.


APHIS is seeking comments on the proposed rule on how best to target enforcement and whether exemptions should be maintained or expanded for smaller breeders. The proposed rule does not seek to change current standards for traditional retail pet stores, which are subject to individual state regulations.

Comments are due July 16, 2012 11:59 PM ET and may be submitted online by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal

Comments may also be mailed to: Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003, Regulatory Analysis and Development PPD APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD, 20737-1238.

Please read the proposed rule carefully. We encourage cross posting of this message.

Susan Wolf

Thursday, May 10, 2012

USDA seeks change to regulate Internet and retail pet sales

Dear SAOVA Friends,

This afternoon USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) held a stakeholders conference call to announce a forthcoming proposal to revise its definition of “retail pet store”. APHIS states this proposal restores the definition to its original intent so that it limits the retail pet store exemption to only those places where buyers physically enter to observe the animals available for sale prior to purchasing them and where certain animals are sold or offered for sale at retail for use as pets. The definition of pet includes dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds, and coldblooded species.

To meet the exemption requirements for the newly defined retail pet store, buyers must be allowed to physically enter the retail seller’s place of business or residence in order to personally observe the animals available for sale prior to purchase and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase. In addition, breeders must have four or less breeding females and can only sell the offspring of the breeding females that were born and raised on their premises, and sold for pets or exhibition.

USDA/APHIS issued a press release this afternoon: USDA Proposes to Close Loophole on Retail Pet Sales to Ensure Health and Humane Treatment which can be found at this link: http://tinyurl.com/7b9kbpj

The notice is scheduled for publication within a week in the Federal Register. The proposed rule and an FAQ are currently available at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ . Proposed Rule is Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003, Regulatory Analysis and Development PPD APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD, 20737-1238.

Once the rule is published there will be a 60 day comment period. The APHIS Factsheet states: under the proposed rule, no dog or other pet animal will be sold at retail without either public or APHIS oversight.

Obviously this rulemaking proposal will have far reaching impacts on sportsmen, dog, cat, and small animal breeders. SAOVA will distribute further analysis and updates as the rule making process continues.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Praise for Domino’s Rejection of HSUS Proposal

US - Domino’s Pizza shareholders last Wednesday rejected – by a majority vote of 80 per cent – a resolution from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) requiring its pork suppliers to stop the use of gestation stalls. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) hailed the move as a vote for common sense.

Animal activist groups recently have influenced several prominent foodservice companies, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King, to make poorly informed decisions on sow housing said the NPPC.

“The vote to reject the HSUS resolution was a vote for common sense,” said NPPC President R.C. Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, N.C. “We appreciate Domino’s belief that America’s farmers, veterinarians and other animal agriculture experts are better suited than activist groups to determine what the best animal care practices are.”

US pork producers care about their animals and rely on the experience and knowledge of animal care experts, including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, when designing housing and handling their animals. These associations recognize both gestation stalls and group housing systems as appropriate for providing for the well-being of sows during pregnancy.

“Removing sow stalls has no demonstrable health or welfare benefits to animals,” said Dr Liz Wagstrom, NPPC chief veterinarian. “In fact, the key factor that most affects animal well-being is husbandry skills – that is, the care given to each animal. There is no scientific consensus on the best way to house gestating sows because each type of housing system has inherent advantages and disadvantages.”

America’s pork farmers are committed to producing safe, affordable and healthy foods for consumers, using industry customs and practices that have been designed with input from veterinarians and other animal-care experts. Providing humane and compassionate care for their pigs at every stage of life is one of the We Care ethical principles to which US hog farmers adhere, said NPPC. ThePigSite News Desk