Breeder Issues in the Limelight on Capitol Hill, at USDA
PIJAC is hitting the ground running in 2018 with key issues, public-private partnerships and more. We anticipate providing important updates on our partnerships with the Fish & Wildlife Service, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the near future.
In the meantime, it is important that the breeder community be aware of two federal issues that have arisen.
The first is H.R. 4693, the Puppy Protection Act. Introduced by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), the bill would create more stringent regulations on dog breeders. While the goal of the bill and several of its components are laudable, PIJAC is concerned that some of the bill’s prescriptions are not supported by sound science.
PIJAC met with staff in Rep. Fitzpatrick’s office on Jan. 10 to discuss these concerns and offer the expertise of our members—including researchers, veterinarians and some of America’s leading breeders. While the legislation’s prospects for advancing seem low, we will closely monitor the bill.
Separately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced it will be holding listening sessions to gather input from stakeholders regarding whether APHIS should recognize third-party inspections when determining the frequency of federal inspections of breeders and other “facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act.”
The dates and other important details of the four in-person sessions and one virtual listening session can be found here. PIJAC urges all interested pet professionals to attend at least one of the listening sessions to provide input and to hear what other participants propose. PIJAC staff is planning to attend at least one session in person as well as the remote session, and we are working to ensure we have representation at the other meetings.
At this stage, APHIS has proposed no rule changes or regulations. While it would be unacceptable for agenda-driven activist organizations to be given authority to inspect breeders, there are opportunities for trusted third-party inspection and certification programs to ensure adherence to standards among communities regulated by the Animal Welfare Act.
Savonne Caughey is director of government affairs for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). Her nearly 20 years of government relations and public affairs experience includes high-level positions in public service as well as in the corporate and non-profit sectors. She has worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Elanco Animal Health, the state of Texas, and the American Heart Association.