USDA Animal Care is reopening the comment period so interested members of the public have more time to weigh in on a petition to amend the Animal Welfare Act regulations to prohibit members of the public from having physical contact with lions, tigers, bears and nonhuman primates of any age.
We will now consider all comments that we receive on or before Nov. 18, 2013. Comments that have already been submitted – including those submitted during the federal government shutdown – will be reviewed and considered along with any new comments that come in, and all will be taken into account when USDA formulates its decision on this petition.
The petition also seeks the following regulation changes: 1) redefining the term “sufficient distance” as it pertains to how close members of the public can get to potentially dangerous animals that are regulated under the Animal Welfare Act; 2) prohibiting members of the public from handling young or immature lions, tigers, bears and nonhuman primates; and 3) prohibiting the separation of young lions, tigers, bears and nonhuman primates from their mothers before the species-typical age of weaning, unless there is a medical necessity.
The petition and docket can be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2012-0107. This is also where you can submit your comments to us.
At USDA Animal Care, ensuring the welfare of the animals we regulate is at the heart of everything we do.