Public comments are sought to update the Animal Welfare Act, which marked its 51st anniversary last year. The AWA was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on Aug. 24, 1966.
“As a trained veterinarian, humane standards of care for animals are close to my heart and central to my love and concern for our four-legged friends,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “Administering the AWA is a key USDA mission, and we are always looking for ways to improve. We welcome comments from the public as APHIS considers changes to the licensing requirements to help us fulfill this important responsibility.”
Each year, USDA issues nearly 6,000 licenses to people who breed, sell, or exhibit animals for commercial purposes. The department is responsible for ensuring that these licensees comply with the AWA’s humane standards of care, which enables the American public to confidently purchase pets and view animals on public display.
The full list of potential changes was published in the August 24, 2017 Federal Register and is available at the Regulations.gov website. Comments will be accepted through Oct. 23, 2017, either online at Regulations.gov after August 24, 2017 or in writing at: Docket No. APHIS-2017-0062, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.
On Aug. 18, 2017, APHIS unveiled a refined public search tool that provides access to AWA compliance records. The public search tool is a component of the Animal Care Information System and will allow APHIS to make animal welfare information publicly available and ensure compliance with all applicable laws.