USDA Requests Comment on Proposed Rule for Standards of Care for Marine Mammals in Captivity

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comments on a proposed rule to amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) concerning the humane handling, care and treatment of marine mammals in captivity.  The proposed rule will be available for comment for 60 days. 

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) sets basic standards for humane care and treatment that must be provided for certain animals including marine mammals that are used in exhibition or research.  The current standards for marine mammals were put in place in 1998.  The proposed changes are based on recent documented scientific data and studies to better ensure humane handling and treatment of marine mammals in a way that is practical and enforceable.  As it developed this proposed rule, APHIS considered information from professional organizations, hundreds of public comments, exhibitors and published scientific studies, as well as the agency’s own experience with marine mammals.

The rule proposes the following changes to the standards:   

A copy of the proposed rule can be viewed here.  The proposed rule will publish in the Federal Register February 3, 2016. APHIS will consider all comments received on or before April 4, 2016.

- Docket No. APHIS-2006-0085

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