Yet, that's exactly how the US government regards dogs, cats and other pets. Our government considers pets as livestock, subject to US Dept of Agriculture rules and regulations.
Here's a description I found online regarding the purpose of the USDA:
The primary purpose of the USDA is to make sure that all American food that is manufactured and consumed is safe, nutritious and sustainable. The USDA thus establishes and enforces regulations about food handling, preparation and manufacturing. It seeks to find ways to make crops healthier, such as growing certain hybrids or reducing pesticide use. It also works with farmers to develop techniques that enable the farmers to produce crops without injury in an efficient and renewable way.
The USDA employs 100,000 people in their effort to regulate farming. So, how did this behemoth agency stray so far from its original purpose? When did they make the leap from protecting our food supply to assuming the moral authority for dictating every minute detail of animal care and pet breeding?
And, despite the USDA encroaching upon the territory of pet breeding, the public perception of breeders remains very poor. USDA regulation seems to be the mark of a disreputable breeder in the mind of the public, and not the reverse.
We “hobby” breeders have fed into that negative stereotype. After all, WE breed for health and fitness and proper conformation, THEY do not. WE lose our shirts. THEY make
But of course, a breeder is a breeder is a breeder. And now, with our willingness to regulate the Other Guy, we may end up sliding down our own slippery slope.
The USDA is concerned that “commercial breeders” are escaping its regulation by selling via the internet. The idea seems to be that selling via the internet is unscrupulous. Gosh, wonder who put that bug in their ear? Why, HSUS, PETA, and other extremist groups, naturally. So now, the USDA is announcing proposed changes to the provisions that delineate who must be commercially licensed and who may be excused. The USDA is entertaining the idea that smaller, hobby breeders should have the doors to their homes open to the public, much like the retail pet stores who are exempt from USDA regulation. If hobby breeders own more than four breeding dogs, or do not have buyers visit their home, they would have to apply for a USDA commercial license and comply with the reams of APHIS regulations.
There are several major problems with such an idea that leap out immediately. Firstly, few hobby breeders sell locally, so a rule requiring every animal to be seen in its home is unreasonable from a practical standpoint. Secondly, our right to privacy in our homes should be sacrosanct. No one should be strong-armed into turning their residence into a public display area. Of course, there are safety concerns involved with allowing strangers to traipse through your home. Assault, rape, robbery and even murder are not uncommon these days. More than one breeder has been unfairly charged with animal abuse based upon casual visitors who entered their home. Meetings between buyers and sellers are more safely conducted in a public location such as a park, a dog show, or a veterinarian’s office. And last but not least, APHIS regulations prohibit raising dogs in your home. They would effectively eliminate the smaller-scale breeders.
The attempt to eliminate internet sales ignores the fact that that this is the internet age. All pet breeders, commercial or otherwise, use the internet as a communication and sales tool.
I must confess, I have bought dogs via the internet myself, using email communication, online pictures and pedigrees. I experienced no problem with my transactions, but if there had been any glitches, I would have considered that the risk that I chose to take in my situation. I much prefer freedom and choices and accepting responsibility for my own actions to having the government micromanage my activities. We have all seen how well Federal oversight works in so many areas – NOT! Just consider the TSA, the Patriot Act, the failed war on drugs, the lack of control of our border. The list goes on and on. But, I digress….
Did we mention that HSUS lacky and animal rights attorney Sarah Conant has been hired as the head of the APHIS enforcement department? I'm sure she is just waiting to pounce on as many breeders as she can possibly find.
This is scarey stuff, folks.
Pet breeding should be regulated at the local level, with minimal rules and inspections related to basic health, sanitation and rabies control That’s it!
US presidential candidate Ron Paul advocates for the elimination of several Federal agencies. The USDA is not on that list. After all, we do need some public oversight of our food supply. But perhaps it is time to put the seriously overweight USDA on a diet. There’s quite a bit of fat to be trimmed in that department.
Here's the link to the proposed changes. Somebody sure has a lot of free time on their hands.