USDA Cracks Down on Traveling Acts
Here’s the great part about the following article:
If cub petting displays have to identify their cubs by name, sex, age, species and identifying markings AND has to reveal who the real owners of the cubs are, then it will be easier for USDA to catch them when cubs disappear and it will be easier for USDA to see that they are using the cubs too young (under 8 weeks according to the USDA Big Cat FAQ) and too old (according to USDA court cases where they found 12 weeks to be the oldest allowed.)
USDA Publishes Final Rule to Help Ensure Health of Animals While Traveling
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has amended the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations to require traveling exhibitors to submit itineraries to the agency 48 hours in advance of travel so that inspectors will know where regulated animals are located.
“This rule will help APHIS ensure animals are receiving humane care and treatment while they are away from their main facility,” APHIS Acting Administrator Kevin Shea.
In the final rule, APHIS has clarified that only those exhibitors traveling overnight or longer away from the main facility would need to provide itinerary information. The itineraries must include:
- the name and license/registration number under the AWA of the person who will exhibit the animals, and the name of the person who owns the animals if any animals are leased, borrowed or loaned;
- the name, identification number or identifying characteristics, species (common or scientific name), sex and age of each animal;
- the dates and locations where the animals will travel, be housed, and be exhibited, and including all anticipated dates and locations for any stops and layovers.
Exhibitors can choose to submit their itineraries via fax, USPS mail, or e-mail.
Questions and Answers regarding this rule and an optional itinerary form are accessible from the Animal Welfare web site.
There are less than 100 USDA inspectors (closer to 50 in 2013 who actually deal with wild animals) to try and keep track of all of these cub petting schemes, but it is a start in the right direction. What USDA needs to do, in order to protect the animals and the public is to ban public contact with exotic cats altogether. We believe that they can do so under their current authority and along with the Big Cat Coalition have submitted a formal 70 page petition spelling that out for them.
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