WASHINGTON, August 5, 2013 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is requesting public comments on a petition received from a group of animal welfare stakeholders that requests amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations. APHIS has been delegated authority to enforce the AWA by the Secretary of Agriculture, who was granted the power to enforce the AWA by Congress under that Act. The AWA requires, among other things, the humane handling, care, treatment and transportation of certain animals by dealers, research facilities, exhibitors, operators of auction sales, carriers, and intermediate handlers.
The petition requests that the AWA regulations prohibit public contact with big cats, bears, and nonhuman primates of any age. This petition is also requesting that the regulations be amended to prohibit the public handling and separation from their dams before weaning unless medically necessary of young or immature big cats, bears, and nonhuman primates.
APHIS is also requesting comments on the following questions:
This notice is published in today’s Federal Register. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before October 4, 2013. Please send your postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2012-0107, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet go to the Federal eRulemaking portal www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0107-0001.