|Is this where that puppy came from?|
Time is running out for you to make your voice heard regarding the USDA's plan to regulate dog breeders who sell over the internet. All comments must be received by August 15, 2012.
You can submit your comments electronically by going to the federal rule making portal here.
These new USDA rules would require breeders who sell multiple puppies over the Internet to be federally licensed and regulated by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Currently, Internet sellers are exempt from the Animal Welfare Act which only covers breeders for the wholesale market such as those who breed dogs for pet stores.
The new rules would require large scale dog breeders that sell their puppies sight unseen over the Internet, by phone, or by mail, to be licensed and regulated to ensure they are providing their dogs with humane standards of care. These new rules would also apply to cat breeders who sell kittens over the Internet.
If you've followed the various legislation in several states that has been aimed at tightening dog breeding regulations and establishing humane care standards, it should come as no surprise that agriculture groups are very vocally opposed to the proposed USDA plan.
As explained by the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation:
Pigs, cows, and sheep are coming soon to your local pet store if you listen to some agricultural interests. Believe it or not, some farm groups are alleging that USDA's plan to redefine the term "retail pet store" could adversely affect farmers. The Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) issued an alert on July 24, 2012 entitled "Proposed APHIS Rule Could Impact Farmers."
In reality, the proposed USDA rule merely extends the definition of a pet store to include large scale dog breeders who sell puppies over the Internet sight unseen. The AAA maintains, however, that if a farmer sells even one farm animal for a pet or sells a farm animal "for purposes such as a 4-H project" that they "could potentially come under the impact of the proposed new rule."Never mind the fact that "farm animals" are specifically exempted from the Animal Welfare Act, the AAA states that this new proposed rule could cost a farmer "up to $10,000 per day" in penalties and that USDA may "seize animals or work with state and local authorities to seize animals." Later in their alert, the AAA concedes that "livestock used for food production are not included in this rule." The AAA continues to argue, however, that the new rule "potentially does present an opportunity for APHIS inspectors to gain access to agricultural operations, which is unprecedented."
What is not without precedence is the paranoia of agricultural groups and their claims that dogs are farm animals. We heard the same preposterous claims during the Prop B campaign when farm groups argued that Prop B covered all domestic animals and would lead to the closure of Missouri farms. While one might be tempted to laugh at such outlandish claims, the AAA alert encourages farmers to "take action" and provides the link for submitting comments to USDA on the new rule. Unfortunately, pork and cattle industry publications have reprinted this same message urging farmers to submit comments in opposition to USDA's proposed rule.
Thousands of dogs desperately need your help to counteract the campaigns being waged by farming interests. In addition to submitting your comments to the USDA, you should contact your US Senators and Representatives to let them know of your position on this issue. Take action now!