Federal Issue Brief

 HR 3359, Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act

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AVMA Position:

Nonsupport

Summary:

Introduced by Congressman Jim Moran (VA-8th), H.R. 3359 would amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) so that no exhibitor may allow for the participation of an exotic or wild animal (including a non-human primate) in an animal act if that animal had traveled in a mobile housing facility in the previous 15 days. The law shall not apply to accredited zoos and aquariums with certain restrictions; a university, college, laboratory or other facility registered pursuant to section 6 of AWA; animals to be used for film, television or advertising; or rodeos.

Background:

The exhibition of animals is regulated under the Animal Welfare Act, which is implemented and enforced by the USDA.

Justification:

  • The AVMA policy on Animals Used in Entertainment, Shows, and for Exhibition specifically “supports the humane and ethical use of animals in spectator events, shows, exhibitions, motion pictures, and television in accord with existing federal, state, and local animal protection laws” and “encourages all organizations involved with animals in spectator events, shows, exhibitions, motion pictures, and television to develop, implement, and enforce appropriate guidelines or standards to ensure humane treatment of these animals, including provision of veterinary care.”
  • The 15-day requirement appears to be arbitrary, with the singular goal of ending exotic or wild animal use in traveling circuses.
  • Exhibition of exotic and wild animals is already regulated under the AWA. In that regard, a more appropriate focus for the bill would be to provide for sufficient personnel and funding for USDA to enforce existing regulations to ensure the well-being of animals participating in exhibitions.
  • If passed, the current population of traveling “exotic and non-domesticated animals” that the bill seeks to protect will be in jeopardy because the fate of these animals would likely include being euthanized, diverted to the private market, or even sent to hunting preserves.

Status:

House Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry.

AVMA Contact:

Dr. Whitney L. Miller, Assistant Director, AVMA Governmental Relations at 202-289-3211.