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