There have been two of the three scheduled listening sessions offered by APHIS seeking comments on regulations regarding the welfare of birds not bred for use in research. A specific schedule for the promulgation, proposal and final adoption of these regulations as ordered by the D.C. Circuit in January 2020, in Am. Anti-Vivisection Soc’y v. United States Dep’t of Agric., 946 F.3d 615. The final listening session is scheduled on Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.
USDA provides for registration on its website:
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.
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?
During the first listening session, representatives from PETA and other animal rights organizations expressed concern about APHIS’s request for comments regarding potential exemptions, stating that no exemptions should be permitted.
If you have an interest or concern about the content of these regulations, you should participate in the process and submit verbal and written comments.