AHC Comments on Proposed Changes under the Animal Welfare Act
The American Horse Council has submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in response to the Agency’s proposal to revise the definition of a “retail pet store” under the Animal Welfare Act. The AHC comments noted the proposed changes should not affect the horse industry since horses in general are specifically excluded from the application of the Act.
The Animal Welfare Act was enacted in 1966 and has been amended several times. Among other actions, the 1970 amendments broadened the definition of “animals” regulated by the Act, but specifically excluded “horses not used for research purposes,” in effect exempting all other horses and all other parts of the horse industry from the Act. The AHC pointed out that the Act and all applicable regulations apply only to horses used for research purposes.
The AHC submitted comments in an effort to avoid any possible confusion in the writing, interpretation, or implementation of the proposed rule changes with respect to their application to the horse industry and to ensure USDA does not mistakenly apply the rules to horses in general or attempt to include horse breeders, horse sales, or horse events within the proposed changes.
The AHC did not comment on any specific changes in the rule proposal because the Animal Welfare Act applies only to horses used for research purposes. The AHC’s comments were submitted out of an abundance of caution to ensure USDA considers the limited application of the Act as it applies to horses with respect to this rule proposal and any other possible changes in the future.
The comment period for the proposed rule changes closes on August 15, 2012.