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Use of Third Party Inspection and Certification Program Listening Sessions

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) held five in-person and one virtual listening sessions to solicit public comment to aid in the development of criteria for recognizing the use of third-party inspection and certification programs as a positive factor when determining APHIS inspection frequencies at facilities licensed or registered under the Animal Welfare Act.  If you are interested in downloading transcripts of each listening sessions, please click on the link below to each session to get a copy of the transcript.


Completed Listening Sessions :

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Santa Clara Marriott
2700 Mission College Boulevard
Santa Clara, CA   95054 
  Santa Clara Listening Session Transcript

Thursday, February 8, 2018
4700 River Road
Riverdale, MD   20737 
Riverdale Listening Session Transcript

Thursday, February 22, 2018
6501 Beacon Road
Kansas City, MO    64133 
Kansas City Listening Session Transcript

Thursday, March 8, 2018
Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza
4200 Jim Walter Boulevard
Tampa, FL    33607
Tampa Listening Session Transcript

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Phone in Session
Phone-in Listening Session Transcript

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Columbus Embassy Suites Hotel
2886 Airport Drive
Columbus, OH    43219
Columbus Listening Session Transcript

In particular, APHIS was interested in hearing feedback on the questions below: 

  1. APHIS is considering recognizing the use of qualified, third-party programs when determining APHIS inspection frequencies at regulated facilities.  Would a potential reduction in the frequency of APHIS inspections be a sufficient incentive for regulated facilities to use third party programs to support compliance under the AWA?  Are there other incentives that should be offered to attract participation of regulated entities in the program?  Please explain.   

  2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of voluntary, third-party programs to support compliance under the AWA?  What potential benefits and costs might accrue to regulated facilities who elect to use a third-party program?  What are the risks associated with using a third party program?

  3. Are third party programs likely to be effective in practice?  Is there potential for a well-functioning market for third party programs to develop?  Please explain.  What existing third-party programs are already used by regulated facilities to help support their AWA compliance? 

  4. When assessing whether to recognize a third-party program, what criteria should APHIS consider to assure its independence, determine whether the scope of its services support and align with the AWA, and mitigate potential conflicts of interest and other potential risks?  In addition, what information should a regulated facility provide so APHIS may verify its use of a third-party program? 

  5. Aside from recognizing the use of qualified, third party programs, what are other methods APHIS could use to encourage facilities to achieve and sustain compliance with the AWA?  Also, where do you see the greatest opportunity for APHIS to improve the consistency and effectiveness of its AWA program? 
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