The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has initiated a process to develop Animal Welfare Act standards for birds not bred for use in research to ensure their humane care and treatment. As a first step, APHIS’ Animal Care program hosted 3 virtual, public listening sessions and accepted comments via Regulations.gov to obtain input from stakeholders.
The Animal Welfare Act does not apply to farm animals. In 9 CFR Part 1, “Animal” is defined as “any live or dead dog, cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, or any other warm-blooded animal, which is being used, or is intended for use for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, or exhibition purposes, or as a pet. This term excludes birds, rats of the genus Rattus, and mice of the genus Mus, bred for use in research; horses not used for research purposes; and other farm animals, such as, but not limited to, livestock or poultry used or intended for use as food or fiber, or livestock or poultry used or intended for use for improving animal nutrition, breeding, management, or production efficiency, or for improving the quality of food or fiber.
Also in 9 CFR Part 1 an exhibitor is defined as “any person (public or private) exhibiting any animals, which were purchased in commerce or the intended distribution of which affects commerce, or will affect commerce, to the public for compensation, as determined by the Secretary. This term includes carnivals, circuses, animal acts, zoos, and educational exhibits, exhibiting such animals whether operated for profit or not. This term excludes retail pet stores, horse and dog races, an owner of a common, domesticated household pet who derives less than a substantial portion of income from a nonprimary source (as determined by the Secretary) for exhibiting an animal that exclusively resides at the residence of the pet owner, organizations sponsoring and all persons participating in State and country fairs, livestock shows, rodeos, field trials, coursing events, purebred dog and cat shows, and any other fairs or exhibitions intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences, as may be determined by the Secretary.
Based on these definitions and the exclusions included within them, birds used as farm animals and those participating in purebred shows or similar fairs and exhibitions intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences will not be regulated under the Animal Welfare Act.
APHIS hosted three public listening sessions to obtain feedback on Animal Welfare Act standards for birds, and the written transcript for each session is linked below.
|September 29, 2020||TRANSCRIPT: Standards for Birds Virtual Public Meeting||276 KB|
|October 7, 2020||TRANSCRIPT: Standards for Birds Public Listening Session||117 KB|
|October 15, 2020||TRANSCRIPT: Standards for Birds Public Listening Session||215 KB|
APHIS accepted written comments from September 29, 2020 through October 29, 2020. All written comments are available through the Regulations.gov website and can be viewed here: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=APHIS-2020-0068-0001.
In order to develop regulations for birds that support both stakeholder needs and animal welfare, we are seeking input on the following questions during each of the listening sessions: