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APHIS Announces Virtual Listening Sessions Seeking Public Input on Regulations Regarding The Welfare Of Birds Not Bred For Use In Research

 

Washington, D.C., August 19, 2020—The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will hold three virtual listening sessions to gather information to assist in the development of regulations that will ensure the humane care and treatment of birds not bred for use in research, consistent with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

The virtual listening sessions will be held:

  • Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT);
  • Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EDT; and
  • Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. 

The AWA authorizes the regulation of birds not bred for use in research and a January 2020 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opinion provided a timeline for APHIS to promulgate regulations and standards on their humane care and treatment. Before we propose regulations and standards for regulating such birds, we believe it is important to seek public input from stakeholders and other interested people.

In order to develop regulations for birds that support both stakeholder needs and animal welfare, we will seek input on the following questions during each of the listening sessions:

  • Are there appropriate performance-based standards we could establish across a wide variety of species of birds?  Can we use classes of birds to set performance-based standards appropriate for the class?  If so, what might these classes look like?
  • How do bird breeders avoid interfering with nesting and breeding or other biological activities of birds?   How can we ensure that housing, feeding, or inspection requirements do not interfere with these activities?
  • Should we revise or add exemptions for certain dealers, exhibitors, operators of auction sales, and carriers and intermediate handlers of birds not bred for use in research?  If so, what should those exemptions be? Please provide supporting data if possible. 
  • Are there thresholds beyond which an entity should not be required to be licensed? For example, we are aware that there are many entities who breed small numbers of birds; if we should exempt those entities, what exemption criteria should we use?
  • Are there certain species which should be exempt?

To register for the listening sessions and learn more about the comment process, please visit: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalwelfare/aw-news/bird-listening-sessions.  

APHIS enforces the AWA to ensure the human handling, care, treatment and transportation of certain animals by dealers, research facilities, exhibitors, operators of auction sales, carriers, and intermediate handlers.