USDA Pushes For Puppy Mill Exemptions

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the

only federal legal protection for the millions of animals kept in research

laboratories, puppy mills, circuses, and public exhibits across the U.S.

Although AWA enforcement is often hindered by meager funding and staff,

the AWA remains the sole dictum for adequate housing, food, water, and

humane standards of care & treatment for many animals.

Now, the U.S.

Department of Agriculture (USDA) is trying to weaken the AWA by formally

exempting certain puppy mill operations from complying with AWA standards.

The new USDA proposal, announced on Dec. 1, 2000, would formally exempt

dealers of breeding, hunting, and security dogs from AWA regulations as

long as they only sell their animals directly to the public (and not

to other dealers). If this rule is formally instated, it would create a

loophole for puppy mills to operate under deplorable conditions, without

any kind of standards for humane treatment.

Furthermore, the proposed change would give consumers who purchase a dog

from one of these dealers no federal recourse if the animal becomes ill or

dies. Worst of all, this proposed change would kill any hope of federal

protection for the countless dogs who languish in these kinds of

breeding facilities.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please contact the USDA and let them know that you object

to their proposed amendment. Tell them that you want stronger, not

weaker, enforcement of AWA standards for those who deal in the retail

sale of dogs for breeding, hunting, or security purposes.

Please send FOUR

copies of your letter (an original and three copies) to:

Docket No.

99-087-1

Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Suite 3CO3

4700 River Rd, Unit 118

Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

(please remember to note

“Docket No. 99-087-1” in your letters).

Comments must be received by April

3,2000. For a sample letter, see

http://www.hsus.org/programs/companion/puppymillsletter_011901.html .

For a copy of the USDA’s proposal, go online to:

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=2000_register&docid=00-30765-filed

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