February 15, 2013


 Exhibitors need to give USDA more travel details

Posted Jan. 30, 2013  

Animal exhibitors licensed and registered with the Department of Agriculture need to give federal authorities itineraries for their animals at least 48 hours before travel.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced in December 2012 that the agency was amending its Animal Welfare Act regulations to require more information on travel starting Jan. 30, a Dec. 31 Federal Register notice states. The regulations are intended to help APHIS Animal Care inspectors enforce the Animal Welfare Act by ensuring animals are given adequate handling, housing, treatment, and transportation when taken away from their home sites at least overnight. The regulations are expected to affect about 425 exhibitors.
“The rule is expected to eliminate costs APHIS incurs in attempting to inspect animals that are not at locations where APHIS expected them to be, and to reduce some costs associated with responding to inquiries and complaints about traveling exhibitors alleged to have violated Animal Welfare Act regulations and standards,” the notice states. “Money saved on these activities can be put toward inspections and other activities that will benefit animal welfare.”
Since 1997, an APHIS policy has required animal travel itineraries from frequently traveling exhibitors. Those who occasionally traveled with animals needed to provide itineraries if their animals would be away from home more than four consecutive days or when APHIS requested itineraries for shorter trips.
The itineraries now required for animal exhibitors need to include where animals will be housed, exhibited, and stopped for layovers.
Asked whether the regulations also were intended to help the department find animals exposed to disease, Dave Sacks, a USDA spokesman, said the increased ability to identify possible disease exposure during an outbreak is a benefit but not a reason for implementing the rule.