The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law August 24, 1966. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard. The Act is enforced by USDA, APHIS, Animal Care.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing proposed updates to its regulations for consistency with a 2014 amendment to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced proposed changes to strengthen enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and end inhumane practices known as soring, which cause horses to suffer physical pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness while walking and moving.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today launched a new Web site dedicated to international pet travel and helping travelers and accredited veterinarians easily determine country-specific requirements. APHIS’s previous site was designed for accredited veterinarians and other animal health professionals who were familiar with interpreting technical regulatory language. Because of this, hundreds of callers a month called APHIS seeking info on pet travel. The new site is specifically designed to be easy for anyone to use.
USDA Animal Care has posted fiscal year 2015 totals for the number of animals used in biomedical research in the United States.
APHIS Finalizes Voluntary Elephant TB Policy
USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service sent this bulletin at 10/16/2015 02:05 PM EDT
WASHINGTON, October 16, 2015—After careful evaluation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has determined that the U.S. Animal Health Association’s (USAHA) 2010 “Guidelines for the Control of Tuberculosis in Elephants” continue to represent the best standards of care for elephants that may be exposed to TB or test positive for the disease, and APHIS is strongly encouraging licensees and registrants who own elephants to voluntarily comply with the Guidelines.
In late December 2012, APHIS published a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments on how to best incorporate USAHA’s 2010 guidance into our enforcement efforts. At that time, we received more than 1,600 comments from a variety of groups, including advocacy organizations, industry groups, licensees and registrants, as well as State officials.
We believe our voluntary approach will continue to protect elephant health and support our collaborative relationship with State partners and the regulated community. Additionally, such a voluntary approach recognizes that the relationship between the licensee and their attending veterinarian as the best approach to oversee the health and welfare of the animals.
At least a few States have already adopted USAHA’s 2010 Guidelines and require elephant exhibitors to comply with them. APHIS will continue to focus on ensuring that elephants receive proper care under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). We will ensure that these animals have an appropriate veterinary care plan established by their attending veterinarian, including the proper testing for, and treatment of, TB. We believe our efforts will continue to enable us to detect and stop the spread of TB in elephants.
If we have concerns about the health and welfare of any elephants, we will use our full authority under the AWA’s veterinary care provisions to take appropriate action. We believe the combination of our oversight of veterinary care, coupled with States using their authorities to address the risk of TB in elephants, is the best approach to take to ensure the health of elephants.