Thursday, June 21, 2012

Peterson Statement: Senate Approves 2012 Farm Bill

The Farm Bill with 73 amendments was approved with a 64-35 vote. Missing from the final list was amendment #2252 proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) which would codify an agreement made by the HSUS and the United Egg Producers. This amendment would have set the precedent to take husbandry standards out of the hands of experts and give control to the federal government.

For Immediate Release: June 21, 2012

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., today made the following statement after the U.S. Senate approved the 2012 Farm Bill, “The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012.”“Today is an important step to having a farm bill in place before the current bill expires this fall. I give high marks to Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts who did an excellent job securing bipartisan support and bringing the bill one step closer to completion. I’m not on board with everything they’ve done but think that we’ll be able to work out our differences in conference committee.“It is crucial that we finish the farm bill before the current bill expires in September. Waiting until the mess that will occur during the lame duck session will not only make it more difficult, but could also result in several unintended consequences. If the House Ag Committee passes a bipartisan bill in early July, House leadership will then have little choice but to bring the farm bill to the floor before the August recess. I’m continuing to work with Chairman Lucas and members of the Committee to make this happen.”

Friday, June 15, 2012

STOP the proposed APHIS RULE in Three Easy Steps!


Once again, we face a fundamental threat to our right to animal ownership in the United States. USDA, through its bureaucratic agency APHIS, is proposing a new regulation to require that ALL pet breeders who have five or more intact females and sell pets outside of the area where they were bred (i.e. online or at a tradeshow) obtain a USDA license and come into compliance with the Animal Welfare Act.

That means if you sell even ONE animal outside of the premises of your breeding facility, you will be required to spend thousands of dollars complying with the AWA and to open your business for USDA inspection. As you know, small breeders cannot afford these onerous regulatory burdens. MANY small American breeding businesses will be bankrupted by this rule, and MANY American jobs will be lost. We have also engaged our attorneys and experts at Olsson, Frank, and Weeda to provide a legal opinion and flowchart for your reference.


The Cavalry Group, a member-based organization which supports and defends the Constitutional rights of American animal owners, has prepared a plan of action to DEFEAT THIS RULE. If you do nothing else, please complete Step 1, as political pressure from Congress will have a HUGE effect on the decision made by USDA. Steps 2 and 3, however, are also important parts of our program. These easy steps should take no more than a few minutes of your time and could very well save your business!

Step 1: Contact your Congressman Congress determines the levels of funding for USDA and APHIS. When a Congressman calls, USDA is sure to answer. We need to let OUR Congressmen know that we do not support this rule, and that its passage would cost their district JOBS. The Cavalry Group has developed a sample letter and contact form to make this process as simple as possible. Remember it is always best to customize your letter and make it personal. Follow this link here and TAKE ACTION NOW!

Step 2: File a Comment with USDA APHIS is required by federal law to accept and respond to any comments about the proposed rule that are submitted. The Cavalry Group has provided an easy to use guide to commenting on proposed rules. We need to let the bureaucrats know how this rule will affect our businesses! Follow this link and comment today!

Step 3: Contact Secretary Vilsack Everyone knows 2012 is an election year. We need to let the current administration know that putting pet breeders out of business is not the way to turn this economy around! The Cavalry Group has prepared a sample letter and contact form to get our message to the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. Follow this link and send a letter today!

The Cavalry Group believes that American citizens have the right to raise and sell animals without federal agents regularly snooping through their property. If everyone follows the above steps and lets their elected representatives know that we can raise our own animals without help from the nannies in Washington DC, we will DEFEAT this rule and deal a major blow to the enemies of American agriculture.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Not what it's cracked up to be

USA Today
By Bob Stallman

One of America's favorite breakfast staples could soon become a lot more expensive, whether scrambled, poached or boiled. If the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 become law, consumers will have no choice but to pay the price.

OUR VIEW: Deal on hen cages shows the way

Conventionally produced eggs, the most popular type, represent more than 90% of eggs purchased by consumers. U.S. farmers produce eggs in a variety of hen housing systems, from humane, science-based conventional systems to more expensive and labor intensive options such as cage-free, free-range and organic eggs. Farmers who produce for these markets are already providing consumers a marketplace choice.

Eliminating conventionally produced eggs would needlessly raise the price for everyone and deny cost-conscious consumers the opportunity to purchase eggs that are not only humanely produced but also more affordable.

The measure would replace decades of science-based animal care with a strict mandate for on-farm egg production. The bill creates a precedent for pointless federal government intrusion on all livestock and poultry farms across the country, while pre-empting state law and regulation.

This bill is fueled by the ruthless political goals of an animal rights group. The overblown rhetoric deployed against conventional egg production is shameless.

The top priority of people who work with farm animals daily is to raise healthy animals, which results in healthy and affordable food for Americans. Publicly funded research has provided improved housing and animal care standards over the past several decades, and farmers have steadily adopted these improvements.

Heavy-handed government mandates will impose significant hardships on America's egg farmers and raise the cost of one of the most affordable and nutritious foods. There's just no way to put a sunny side on another bad idea from Washington.

Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle farmer in Colombus, Texas, is president of the American Farm Bureau Federation

Related articles:
Opposition to Proposed Congressional Egg Bill Builds
Ads fly over egg bill
Georgia Farm Bureau Opposes Egg Bill

Sunday, June 10, 2012

RPOA Texas Outreach Alert - APHIS Proposed Rule

From RPOA Texas Outreach and Responsible Pet Owners Alliance
Crossposting is encouraged.
June 7, 2012 Immediate Action Required!

This alert can also be found under the Action Alert Button on our website:

URGE WITHDRAWAL OF USDA "Document ID APHIS-2011-0003-0001," a proposal to regulate home breeding of all species of pets! This is a far reaching proposal that will have tremendous implications for all pet/animal owners, who are the real stakeholders regarding this proposal - not breeders. It is an overreach of the federal government that will result in an exodus of responsible pet breeders and lead to a shortage of healthy, well bred, well socialized pets.

For over 40 years, ANYONE selling, at retail, the following animals from their homes for use as pets has been considered a "retail pet store" and exempt from USDA licensing: Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds, and cold-blooded species. APHIS is seeking comments regarding changes to this longstanding definition of "retail pet store." Large scale breeders selling wholesale to pet shops are already required to be USDA licensed.

ALSO AFFECTED: Rescuers, their foster homes, service animals, guide dogs for the blind, sportsmen, military dogs, and many other groups that "sell" animals. When asked about these recently during the APHIS Teleconference Call, Kevin Shea, with USDA, said: "If they [the animals] are sold, they come under this rule."

Due to a widespread public outcry, the Department of Labor recently withdrew a proposal which would have restricted children's chores on family farms. With your help, we could do the same with this proposal. Per USDA: The sale of "one" pet away from the breeder's home would result in a violation requiring the breeder to be USDA licensed!

HSUS fingerprints are all over this and they are aware that USDA regulations can't be met in the home setting of hobby breeders. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and David Vitter (R-LA), both PAWS sponsors, told media that they had written to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in October 2011, urging USDA to "close this unnecessary loophole through regulatory action, rather than requiring additional congressional action." The "loophole" referred to is selling pets on websites and claiming this is "sight unseen." Not always true! Reputable rescuers and breeders both have pictures, video and sometimes sound on their websites and are already regulated with Animal Cruelty Laws at the local and state level.

CHOICES under the proposed rules to "remain exempt" from the Animal Welfare Act:

1) The buyer MUST ALWAYS come to your home at least once per sale. No limits on any numbers but one violation of a sale off premises, and USDA licensing is mandated.
2) OR "maintain" four or less "breeding female animals." Sell their offspring directly to consumer only. Allows pet sales away from home.
3) OR get a USDA License.

USDA says they have no definition for "breeding females" at the present time. IMPACT: Economic impact would be disastrous to veterinarians, giant corporations, and small businesses that depend upon pet ownership for sales of pet food, pet supplies, pet animals, grooming, boarding, training for pets and much more. These regulations will affect thousands of caring, ethical hobby breeders who will shut down their breeding programs in protest.

1) E-mail your elected U.S. senators and representatives. Find your elected U.S. Representatives from Texas at . Type your address in the Search Box and your U.S. senators' and representatives' names will come up. Click on their name and send an email. Copy and paste any of this information.
2) Separate comments must be made to USDA/APHIS before July 16, 2012 11:59 PM ET. However our elected legislators have more power than our personal comments will ever have:
Go to:!submitComment;D=APHIS-2011-0003-0001
Multiple comments may be made. USDA wants to know how this regulation will affect you and mistakenly assumes that breeders are the only ones affected. All pet owners are the "stakeholders" here and healthy, well-bred, socialized pets will be more expensive and difficult, if not impossible, to find. Personalize your message. Involve friends and family.
3) Educate everyone as to the economic impact of this proposal if it passes.
4) Forward this alert to your personal veterinarians and state legislators to expose the national HSUS Legislative Agenda to regulate pet ownership out of existence. Your personal state legislators can be found at: with the Search Box (by address).
5) Contact USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack: Information Hotline (202) 720-2791 and request that this proposal be withdrawn.

ENFORCEMENT: USDA is under fire for lax enforcement of existing law and cannot support expansion of their duties. APHIS' Regulatory Impact Analysis is heavily flawed and greatly underestimates the number (1500) of new licensed facilities to be caught up in this national net. Christine Jones (USDA) says: "It will be a multi-faceted approach: complaints received, self-reporting and facilities coming forward ..." "Animal Rights" extremists will flood APHIS with complaints!

WHY WE DON'T WANT UNINVITED PERSONS IN OUR HOMES: 1) Unannounced federal employees conducting inspections. 2) Shoes carry diseases (especially Parvo Virus, deadly to puppies). 3) Harassment and vandalism from "animal rights" fanatics. 4) Danger of stolen dogs or property by visitors sizing up facilities and security.

Surveys for APHIS Comments

The ASCA (Australian Shepherd Club of America) Legislative Committee has drafted (and paid for) two surveys to complete for comments on the proposed new APHIS/USDA rule - one for breeders, one for owners. The surveys are very brief. Please take a moment to participate if you have not done so already. Surveys may be closed on June 15th unless ASCA decides differently.

Survey for breeders (or any owner of intact bitches) and the link is

Survey for anyone who has acquired a dog in the last 10 years and the link for that is

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

CALL TO ACTION: Comments needed - USDA/APHIS retail pet seller rule change

As you know by now, APHIS proposes to revise the definition of "retail pet store" to bring more pet animals sold at retail under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licensing and regulations. APHIS plans to 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. Under the proposed rule no dog or other pet animal will be sold at retail WITHOUT either public or APHIS oversight. This is the critical point.


- For decades pet sellers in the retail sector have enjoyed immunity from federal licensing under the definition of a “retail pet store”. Historically retail sellers were not licensed by the federal government due to the general ability of the public to provide their own scrutiny of pet sellers and government concerns such as duplicative efforts with state or local laws.

- The proposed rule change has been circulated in the media and by HSUS as “closing an Internet loophole” in the AWA that will bring regulation to unscrupulous dog breeders who operate in substandard conditions. Far from it!! The broad scope of the proposed rule could bring hundreds of thousands of pet retailers and rescuers of domestic animals under federal regulation.

- A breeder/seller of any species currently covered under the “retail pet store” definition can potentially lose their exemption and be required to obtain a federal license for even occasionally selling sight unseen via the Internet. “Covered” species includes dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds.

- The proposed rule would require EVERY SINGLE BUYER to physically visit a retailer’s premises. Therefore selling even one pet OFF PREMISES at a show, at a park, or arranged location without the buyer visiting first, will result in loss of an exemption from federal licensing. Rescue organizations are NOT exempt from this proposed rule. Selling pets at an adoption day event away from their base location or traveling to meet potential adopters would no longer be permitted without a federal license. This proposed requirement places undue limitations on buyers as well as sellers.

- Living under USDA licensing is NOT an option for the average retail seller. Spare rooms in homes, porches, covered kennel runs, and barns can never be converted to a USDA-compliant facility. Federal engineered standards for licensed facilities dictate enclosure sizes, sanitation, surfaces that are impervious to moisture, ventilation, bio-hazard control, veterinary care, exercise, temperature controls, waste disposal systems, diurnal lighting, drainage systems, washrooms, perimeter fencing, as well as transportation standards for regulated animals. Most residential environments would not permit zoning variances for such facilities.

- Exemptions from licensing are limited. Breeders of cats, dogs, and small exotic animals are currently exempt if they have 3 or fewer breeding females. APHIS proposes to increase this to 4 or fewer breeding females. However, either limit makes it very difficult to build a breeding program without constantly moving out or spaying older females to make room for the next generation. To have more than this number of breeding females requires a license.

- There is still an exemption for sellers who derive less than $500 gross income from the sale of other animals (this does not include dogs, cats, and exotic or wild animals).

- The massive expansion of regulatory responsibilities into the private sector outlined in the proposed rule is not only impractical but unaffordable for an agency that is currently addressing serious budget challenges. For the past several years, APHIS’ budget has been shrinking; since 2010 the budget has decreased by roughly 10 percent. The 2013 submitted budget calls for an additional decrease of 6.6%.


OPPOSE adoption of this proposed rule. APHIS needs to hear most from those who are likely to be affected by the rule. Are you already licensed under local or state law and would federal regulation be a duplicate effort? Explain briefly how the rule will impose costs on your breeding program and activities and whether this will cause you to cease or limit your hobby or operations.

Suggested comments are available at the SAOVA website and can be customized. Submit a separate comment for each point you wish to make in opposition to the rule. Comment period ends July 16, 2012.

Post comments at the APHIS portal
Send a copy of your comment to Congressman and reference Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003
Directory of Representatives
Directory of Senators

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION can be found at PIJAC and at the Cat Fanciers Association.