Today I came across an interesting news post from another animal rescue organization, the ASPCA, whose mission to help rescue and rehabilitate animals often dovetails with BRAT's mission to rescue and rehabilitate basenjis. The news posting (http://www.aspca.org/USDA) is about a potential revision to the Animal Welfare Act law, which could potentially bring puppy mills who operate by selling their dogs online, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and make them comply with the Animal Welfare Act.
The Animal Welfare Act
of 1960, is the law that commercial breeders of animals in the USA are required
to be licensed and inspected by the USDA to ensure that baseline levels of
animal health and sanitary conditions are being met. Currently, only breeders
who sell dogs to pet stores or to puppy brokers are required to be licensed and
inspected by the USDA. Due to the wording of the Animal Welfare Act—passed 40
years ago, before existence of the Internet—a large (and growing) population of
commercial breeders has been able to escape federal licensing and regulation.
What this means is that in many cases, no
one is checking up on breeders who sell puppies directly to consumers over the
Internet. As the ASPCA has seen firsthand, the photos of happy,
healthy puppies posted on a breeder’s website often grossly misrepresent what
conditions are really like for these puppies and their parents.
ASPCA experts have reviewed the USDA’s proposed rule and have decided that they
support it. Specifically, they are asking that the rule should exclude responsible hobby breeders (who already meet the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act) and that it should not negatively impact legitimate rescues and shelters. As BRAT is not a political organization, we do not take an official
position on this issue or endorse any viewpoint, but I (personally) thought it might be helpful to pass along this information since I know many of BRAT's volunteers are also supporters of protecting the health and welfare of breeding dogs.
If you're interested in learning more about this potential "puppy mill" amendment to the federal Animal Welfare Act, you
can visit the ASPCA's animal advocacy page (http://www.aspca.org/USDA)
and, if you'd like, you can sign up to support this legislation. I (personally) already did!