Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Sight Unseen" and other Drivel

Something has been nagging at the back of my mind; this whole recent chain of events with new government rules didn't seem to make sense. I just couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew something didn't add up. Today, it finally dawned on me exactly what the problem is.

Different rules from the same agency should not conflict. If the overall goal is to discourage so-called "SIGHT UNSEEN" pet sales and rid the market of supposed "bad breeders", then why are "SIGHT UNSEEN" sales from other countries not only unregulated, but actually sanctioned by recent USDA rules?
As you may recall, NAIA was complicit in formulating the new USDA import rules and publicly applauded their passage.* These new rules require imported dogs to have rabies vaccinations and health clearances, (GOOD). They forbid importing dogs for resale under the age of six months (BAD). The new rules would allow import of a dog from another country by purchasers who do not plan to resell the animal, as long as there is a health clearance (GOOD). So overall, more good than bad. Hobby breeders aren't really affected, so they are all fine with these new rules. They are happy to embrace a rule that they perceive will only adversely affect "Rescue Retailers."

Meanwhile, there is yet another rule that the USDA is implementing right here and right now in the US. This new rule requires anyone who ships a dog “sight-unseen” to a buyer, (and who also owns more than four bitches) to apply for USDA licensing. This revised rule would require thousands of small breeders to become USDA licensed, have their personal information registered into a publicly available database, be required to meet USDA "commercial" breeder standards (difficult to achieve in a home environment), and be available 24/7 for unannounced inspections by APHIS, regardless of the constraints of your “real job”.

Now, unless you are willing to cease shipping dogs entirely, if you keep four or more bitches you must be USDA licensed. This means you are now on the radar screen of animal rights groups, like CAPS and other loonies, who will have your contact information.

Animal rights nuts can and do target USDA commercial breeders for nasty terrorist attacks, with the intent to drive them out of business. Why would anyone want a USDA license? And who heads the USDA-APHIS enforcement division? Why a former employee of the anti-breeding HSUS, that's who! Many APHIS inspectors have been fully indoctrinated by animal rights fanatics, and are looking to "find something" on inspection. After all, they need to justify their existence, and finding violations and fining people is the only way do do that.
Due to many concerns arising from and the ambiguity associated with enforcement of these new rules, and the fact that despite several conferences, no one seems to really understand the new rules (including APHIS personnel themselves), thousands of breeders and dozens of dog clubs have mounted a legal challenge to block the new USDA-APHIS rules for breeders.

Representatives from the AKC and NAIA have not been supportive of this legal effort, claiming that breeders do not have “standing” in the matter. They have been assuring us that exemptions can solve all our worries. The matter of "standing" has now been settled, as the courts have determined that the case does indeed have merit, and the lawsuit moved forward with a court date. The USDA-APHIS then hired a NAIA lawyer as their consultant, to give the impression that the concerns of dog owners will be addressed. Never mind the fact that they did not address our concerns after literally thousands of public comments and questions during the conferences that went unanswered. But, adding a representative from the "breeder" side of the equation on their team will give them better odds in court, they reason. Window dressing.

Now think about this for a minute. Why are the events in regard to these two new rules from the USDA troublesome when viewed in conjunction with each other?

Here's why. These new rules don't dovetail. Foreign breeders can ship “sight-unseen” to buyers, while those in the US cannot do so without Federal regulation of their breeding activities.

Are breeders in other countries automatically more holy and righteous than breeders in the USA? Does the USDA wish to encourage"sight unseen" sales from overseas? Because that's what is going to happen when more US breeders quit shipping or even quit breeding altogether.

We also have a study in progress from Purdue that intends to set guidelines for breeding activities. Once that come on the scene, we will have yet another set of anti-breeding regulations that will effectively squelch the hopes of newbies who might aspire to being dog breeders....if only it weren't so difficult to qualify for that breeding permit! And how will breeders in other countries comply? Who will regulate them?

And then, we will have to have a NEW RULE that prohibits imports for ANYONE. It is easy to do, because there is already a prohibition for those who re-sell dogs under the age of six months, and no one said BOO when they slipped that neat little rule in there. In fact, the breeders stood up and cheered! All they need to do now, is to tweak it a bit. No one can import a dog for resale PERIOD. No one can have a dog shipped in from another country "sight unseen".  After all, that is the intent of the OTHER new APHIS rule, and we need all our rules to apply fairly to everyone and in all the same situations. Don't we?

If we can't ship a dog with a health certificate "sight unseen" without Federal oversight of our breeding operation, how can people ship one in from another country with just a health certificate?

The new rule requiring almost all US breeders to register with USDA-APHIS  MUST be struck down.

Support the KODA effort. Court date, October 9.



  1. The UDSA hiring Prayer as a consultant is a bit like the NFL hiring some random women in light of their recent domestic violence scandals. Both are attempts to sanitize and legitimize nefarious activities.

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  3. You hit the nail on the head! Sometimes I have to literally draw a matrix on paper in other to see how all the (chess) pieces fit together. This all leads to the abolition of PETS!

  4. Hmmm, another NAIA-affiliated lawyer is giving an "APHIS seminar" on the 29th in Wisconsin. That should be interesting. Likely they will advise us on how we can comply with all these great new government regulations.