There are just a few hours left to comment on the proposed rule that would drastically expand the USDA/APHIS' authority over private pet breeders in their homes throughout the USA. Comments need to be in by 11:59PM Eastern time tonight, Wednesday August 15th, 2012, but don't try to cut it too close.
Please comment and tell them this rule needs to be withdrawn. Remember, you can make as many comments as often as you like, and substance is more important than number. But HSUS and other anti-breeding organizations are blitzing the comments in these last few hours, and we need to make sure they are outnumbered and we make our voices heard. It's important to use your own words, but here are some ideas for you to use if desired.
Some talking points (Please use your own words when commenting, as duplicate comments are treated as one, even if posted multiple times):
* It's not APHIS' job to regulate private breeders in their homes. The Animal Welfare Act was never intended to regulate private retail sales, and the courts have affirmed that this is not USDA's job.
* People are perfectly capable of making their own decisions about how and where to buy a pet. We don't need the government regulating that.
* There is no evidence that animals purchased sight-unseen or shipped/transported to the buyer have a higher incidence of *anything* than animals purchased any other way, and APHIS themselves has admitted they have no data whatsoever on this. This makes this rule arbitrary, specious and capricious; based on anecdotal and emotional claims rather than on real data supported by evidence.
* We don't need more small hobbyist breeders forced to raise pets in sterile laboratory-style facilities, and AWA standards do not allow for home-raised pets. A small hobbyist breeder is not able to be home from 7AM to 7PM every weekday for inspections, and the requirement for sterile facilities with no impermeable surfaces, no animals raised with other types of animals, etc. makes it impossible for a home environment to meet AWA standards.
* Not being able to ship or transport breeding stock will destroy the genetic diversity of rare breeds and harm breeding programs, and will harm the production of working/service dogs, as well as preventing people from doing their own research and buying pets where and how they choose.
* Animals have been purchased remotely and transported sight-unseen for thousands of years. The internet makes it easier, not harder, to research a breeder and make an informed purchasing decision.
* If they are going to pass this rule they need to make the "face to face" exemption clearly outlined in the text of the rule itself. Simply promising not to enforce the rule as written (as the current plan is) is not a good solution.
* Any problems can be dealt with simply by APHIS enforcing their own standards on existing licensed breeders, and by enforcing existing animal cruelty and mail fraud laws. All states already have laws with potentially severe penalties for dealing with animal cruelty.
* The USDA/APHIS is required to do an impact analysis when creating new rules. Their calculated cost of this rule both to breeders and to APHIS is severely underestimated to the point that it is laughable. Their data does not even attempt to include species other than dogs that will be impacted, and grossly underestimates even the number of dog breeders that will be impacted and the costs associated with that.
* The information given to the public and the way APHIS has described this rule during the comment period is grossly misleading and undermines transparency.
* $500 is an extremely low threshold for requiring breeders to be licensed, especially since it is calculated based on raw income rather than on profit.
The AWA says in Sec. 2133. Licensing of dealers and exhibitors,
"That any retail pet store or other person who derives less than a substantial portion of his income (as determined by the Secretary) from the breeding and raising of dogs or cats on his own premises and sells any such dog or cat to a dealer or research facility shall not be required to obtain a license as a dealer or exhibitor under this chapter."
$500 is no longer a substantial portion of the average person's income and this needs to be updated. If inflation continues at the same average rate as it has since the AWA was passed, by 2020 it will take about $5,000 to have the same buying power that $500 had in 1966. The exemptions for cats, dogs and exotic animals allow for the potential sale of many thousands of dollars worth of animals before licensing is required; it is unfair and capricious to have a so much lower threshold for other types of animals.
* Breeding females are not clearly defined, and several other definitions in the rule are not clearly defined either. 4 intact females is a very low threshold to reach, and owning them does not necessarily mean they are being bred. This threshold for determining licensing is also unfair, capricious and specious, as is the requirement that a breeder must never sell any animal that was not bred and raised by them in order to be exempt from licensing.
* This rule is being pushed by anti-breeder animal rights organizations such as HSUS that have the ultimate agenda of eliminating all existence and use of domestic animals. No amount of regulation will make them happy unless we do away with all breeding and animal ownership completely, and the U. S. Dept. of Agriculture should not be pandering to them.
Read and comment on the proposed rule here:
Permission to repost granted; the original post is from Washington Animal Watch blog at http://waanimal.blogspot.com/2012/08/time-is-running-out.html and updates and any edits/corrections will be posted there.