March 2, 2021
To Representative Dina Titus for sponsoring H.R. 1442 to protect animals in emergencies at USDA-licensed facilities.
Currently, over 9,000 facilities⚊animal dealers, animal exhibitors, animal transporters, and animal researchers⚊are licensed through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The animals at these facilities receive minimal to no protection from the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Sadly, due to these poor guidelines and inadequate resources to provide annual inspections, countless animals are subjected to inhumane living conditions and suffering, as seen in some commercial breeding entities known as puppy mills.
Representative Dina Titus (D-NV) has introduced H.R. 1442 to create an amendment to the AWA to protect these animals in an emergency. H.R. 1442 is known as The Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters or The PREPARED Act. The PREPARED Act will require USDA-licensed facilities to develop contingency plans and training for their employees.
A similar plan was put in place by the USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in 2012. APHIS determined that licensed facilities should have contingency plans to care for their animals in emergencies after the devastating loss of animals’ lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters. This evaluation by APHIS resulted in the creation of 9 C.F.R. § 2.134(a), stating that “Dealers, exhibitors, intermediate handlers, and carriers must develop, document, and follow an appropriate plan to provide for the humane handling, treatment, transportation, housing, and care of their animals in the event of an emergency or disaster (one which could reasonably be anticipated and expected to be detrimental to the good health and well-being of the animals in their possession).”
Unfortunately, in 2013, a stay order was issued citing the following reason, “in order that we may undertake a review and analysis of such requirements. We intend to conduct this additional review to further consider the impact of contingency plan requirements on regulated entities, taking into account a reexamination of any unique circumstances and costs that may vary by the type and size of businesses.” No further report has been published.
If you believe that these facilities should be required to have a plan to help protect the animals in their care, please contact your legislator today!