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Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

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Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#1  Unread postby OneAcreFarm » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:57 pm


If you have not read the ACTUAL proposed changes, here they are:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/2012/05/pdf/docket_APHIS_2011_0003.pdf

The three biggest concerns as I see them 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.

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 a 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.

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.

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 changes.

Go here:

http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=APHIS-2011-0003-0001

to leave a comment for the authors of the proposed changes. It is open until July 16th 2012 and you only have 20 min and 2,000 characters to type, so write it ahead of time and then copy/paste.
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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#2  Unread postby toastedoat37 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:10 pm


the wording on number 1 is not good enough, its not clear, what the dr. said isnt clear,,, and what you said after isnt clear. Number two,,,,,,Remember , some are selling PETS,,,,ARE you raising LIVESTOCK or pets? Number three,,same thing,,,PETs, or LIVESTOCK.

People that sell pets , are going to be regulated and inspected at some point,,,,,its gonna happen. But in doing so, it cant be allowed that rabbits are all called pets. If rabbits get classified legaly as compainion animals, meat raisers will be in trouble, we cant be eating "companion animals"

Its a very touchy thing, wording is everything. People that just argue against regulations completely dont get that wont help anything. There are already regulations and laws that are ignored .

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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#3  Unread postby OneAcreFarm » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:18 pm


toastedoat37 wrote:the wording on number 1 is not good enough, its not clear, what the dr. said isnt clear,,, and what you said after isnt clear. Number two,,,,,,Remember , some are selling PETS,,,,ARE you raising LIVESTOCK or pets? Number three,,same thing,,,PETs, or LIVESTOCK.


According to Dr. Rushin, it does not matter if you are raising LIVESTOCK or PETS...if it is a "covered" animal then it falls under the AWA regulations.

toastedoat37 wrote:People that sell pets , are going to be regulated and inspected at some point,,,,,its gonna happen. But in doing so, it cant be allowed that rabbits are all called pets. If rabbits get classified legaly as compainion animals, meat raisers will be in trouble, we cant be eating "companion animals"


This actually has nothing to do with Pet vs. Meat...if you sell pets from your home, you are good, that is what he said. He ALSO said, and the current AWA regulations state, "anyone raising animals that are bred, raised or sold for meat, fur or fiber are exempt from AWA licensing requirements."

toastedoat37 wrote:Its a very touchy thing, wording is everything. People that just argue against regulations completely dont get that wont help anything. There are already regulations and laws that are ignored .


My point exactly, that the proposed changes need to CLEARLY state the actual intent of the writer's, or at least what this Dr. Rushin SAYS was their intent.
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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#4  Unread postby -HRanchito » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:05 pm


That's an excellent summary OneAcreFarm. I felt the same things as I read the transcipts and I'm very glad you so eloquently put that together in this thread.

Toasted - if the wording doesn't get clarified (and of course we're all going to put that stuff in the comment box for them) we do just have to make sure never to advertise on the internet using the word "pet", or the rabbit police will find you.



It totally is about "Pet." From the current definitions of AWA, bolding mine:

"Animal means any live or dead dog, cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or any other warmblooded animal, which is being used, or is intended for use for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet. This term excludes birds, rats of the genus Rattus, and mice of the genus Mus, bred for use in research; horses not used for research purposes; and other farm animals, such as, but not limited to, livestock or poultry used or intended for use as food or fiber, or livestock or poultry used or intended for use for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production efficiency, or for improving the quality of food or fiber. With respect to a dog, the term means all dogs, including those used for hunting, security, or breeding purposes."

It seems to me like selling for brood or show would qualify as an exception based on the bolded text. In case we have any qualms about show animals:

"Exhibitor means any person (public or private) exhibiting any animals, which were purchased in commerce or the intended distribution of which affects commerce, or will affect commerce, to the public for compensation, as determined by the Secretary. This term includes carnivals, circuses, animal acts, zoos, and educational exhibits, exhibiting such animals whether operated for profit or not. This term excludes retail pet stores, horse and dog races, organizations sponsoring and all persons participating in State and county fairs, livestock shows, rodeos, field trials, coursing events, purebred dog and cat shows and any other fairs or exhibitions intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences as may be determined by the Secretary."
Last edited by -HRanchito on Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#5  Unread postby SatinsRule » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:13 pm


There is an excess in the amount of gray areas and loopholed language, all of which leaves way too much open to the interpretation of an investigator/inspector of the USDA within this proposal.
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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#6  Unread postby 3mina » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:58 pm


SatinsRule wrote:There is an excess in the amount of gray areas and loopholed language, all of which leaves way too much open to the interpretation of an investigator/inspector of the USDA within this proposal.


That seems to be the point of a lot of these regulations and laws, if it's full of loopholes then the average person isn't going to try to thread the gauntlet and will stop raising and owning animals. JMO
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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#7  Unread postby OneAcreFarm » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:02 pm


-HRanchito wrote:That's an excellent summary OneAcreFarm. I felt the same things as I read the transcipts and I'm very glad you so eloquently put that together in this thread.

Toasted - if the wording doesn't get clarified (and of course we're all going to put that stuff in the comment box for them) we do just have to make sure never to advertise on the internet using the word "pet", or the rabbit police will find you.



It totally is about "Pet." From the current definitions of AWA, bolding mine:

"Animal means any live or dead dog, cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or any other warmblooded animal, which is being used, or is intended for use for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet. This term excludes birds, rats of the genus Rattus, and mice of the genus Mus, bred for use in research; horses not used for research purposes; and other farm animals, such as, but not limited to, livestock or poultry used or intended for use as food or fiber, or livestock or poultry used or intended for use for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production efficiency, or for improving the quality of food or fiber. With respect to a dog, the term means all dogs, including those used for hunting, security, or breeding purposes."

It seems to me like selling for brood or show would qualify as an exception based on the bolded text. In case we have any qualms about show animals:

"Exhibitor means any person (public or private) exhibiting any animals, which were purchased in commerce or the intended distribution of which affects commerce, or will affect commerce, to the public for compensation, as determined by the Secretary. This term includes carnivals, circuses, animal acts, zoos, and educational exhibits, exhibiting such animals whether operated for profit or not. This term excludes retail pet stores, horse and dog races, organizations sponsoring and all persons participating in State and county fairs, livestock shows, rodeos, field trials, coursing events, purebred dog and cat shows and any other fairs or exhibitions intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences as may be determined by the Secretary."


I understand what you are saying, and all of that is indeed contained in the AWA. However, this particular change to the legislation is ONLY concerning that portion that lays out what a "retail pet store" is defined as, since retail pet stores are exempt from AWA licensing. What they are trying to do, and NOT doing it well, is stop "puppy mills" and animal hoarders from selling sick animals sight-unseen over the internet, and shipping them to the customer without ever having face to face contact. By requiring that we sell only from our home/rabbitry to be exempt, they think they are helping by ensuring face to face contact and thereby allowing the consumer to see what they are getting. And SOMEHOW, rabbits and all kind of other "farm animals" (yes, that is actually in there)got lumped in to the mix. Here is what I think about that....DON'T buy animals sight unseen to be shipped to you, if you aren't prepared to deal with the likelihood of being scammed.
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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#8  Unread postby -HRanchito » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:08 pm


From the proposed rule, bolding once again mine. I still think they should butt out and the inspectors should get real jobs :D

"Retail pet store 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 the following animals are sold or offered
for sale, at retail, for use as pets: Dogs, cats, rabbits..." (every animal ever is listed next)
Last edited by -HRanchito on Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#9  Unread postby OneAcreFarm » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:16 pm


-HRanchito wrote:From the proposed rule, bolding once again mine. I still think they should butt out and the inspectors should get real jobs :D

"Retail pet store 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 the following animals are sold or offered
for sale, at retail, for use as pets: Dogs, cats, rabbits..."


Right, but they are NOT saying that you MUST be licensed to sell pets. In fact, if you qualify as a "retail pet store" then you DON'T have to be licensed or undergo inspections.
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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#10  Unread postby -HRanchito » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:05 pm


I'm starting to suspect we are arguing the same point. :shrug: I actually do stuff like that a lot and don't notice until it's too late! (families shattered, lives changed forever! :D)

I guess what i'm trying to say is that we may not be able to use the retail pet store exemption anymore, but we still have the food, fiber, and breeding exemptions. I think it would be great if the proposal just used the words "face-to-face," or "at events such as a purebred cat or dog show," in addition to place of business, and that would be an easy fix. But really, even as is, the proposal won't really affect me, or you, or anyone who has several rabbit outlets that fall under exemptions, which are defined by your intent as a seller. Poor lionhead breeders :( So if your website doesn't say "pet," you should be fine.

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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#11  Unread postby toastedoat37 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:00 pm


there are already rules and regulations having to do with selling pets you raise if its more than five hundred dollars a year , federal ,state and city rules , that people dont follow , license your supposed to have depending on where you live.People dont follow them.And since we have the internet , there are thousands of people that operate businesses without licenses they are supposed to have .

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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#12  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:14 pm


toastedoat37 wrote:there are already rules and regulations having to do with selling pets. People dont follow them.


That is because there are too many laws!

Even judges and lawyers don't know them all- there is no way that any one person can know more than a fraction of the laws that we have today. Since "ignorance of the law is no excuse", how do we defend ourselves against overreaching regulations?

I consider myself to be a morally responsible citizen- but I bet I have unknowingly broken the law more than once, by simply picking a flower on a hike or pocketing a stone or shell from a beach.
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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#13  Unread postby toastedoat37 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:25 pm


I only break the stupid laws.

__________ Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:25 pm __________

But i agree that there needs to be something done about the pet rabbit situation,pet breeders are going nuts breeding rabbits that they cant sell here ,they dont cull, they sell sick rabbits. They dont follow any breed standards, its a mess.
Last edited by toastedoat37 on Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#14  Unread postby MamaSheepdog » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:29 pm


I would think the law of "supply and demand" would take care of that problem quickly enough.
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Re: Proposed Changes to Animal Welfare Act/APHIS/USDA

Post Number:#15  Unread postby SatinsRule » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:36 am


3mina wrote:
SatinsRule wrote:There is an excess in the amount of gray areas and loopholed language, all of which leaves way too much open to the interpretation of an investigator/inspector of the USDA within this proposal.


That seems to be the point of a lot of these regulations and laws, if it's full of loopholes then the average person isn't going to try to thread the gauntlet and will stop raising and owning animals. JMO


The problem is that the interpretations are bent and slanted to suit whoever is in the DA's office and what their agendas happen to be at the time. All of the interpretations are formed in concert with local law enforcement.

It's increasingly common to create large loopholes in the wording of the law to allow such a thing to exist, and given the mindset of the czars in current administration, it's being orchestrated at a high level. If there is an extreme far-left special interest, they embrace it tightly.
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