Do animal owners have any hope for the future? I don't think so. My crystal ball tells me we can only look forward to more red tape strangulation.
The USDA was not founded as an agency meant to regulate anyone, it was initiated to educate and advise farmers on good practices. But like most anything involving the government, it has expanded like the blob, feeding off of our human rights. Congress passed a law in the 1960s allowing USDA to regulate "commercial" dog breeders, and wala, here we are a few short decades later; now anyone who owns a few bitches and who sells even one dog by remote means like air shipping, is under their iron fist. Quite a nauseating turn of events here in a land where our freedoms are supposed to be a priority.
A letter rife with baloney like how he will help develop government guidelines for "preserving bloodlines" and squelching "bad actors" was released yesterday by Mr. Prager.
Now aside from the fact that the USDA could not produce even ONE example of a "bad actor" when requested to do so, what business is it of the government how anyone breeds, be it for the purpose of "preserving bloodlines" or crossbreeding to create a new breed? Will we now have minimal daily requirements for dog breeding? Get them OUT of where they don't belong!
You just can't make this stuff up. Although it would have been nice to awaken and say, "oh gosh, it was only a bad dream."
NO WONDER Mr. Prager has pooh-poohed the legal challenge to the new APHIS rules. He LIKES the new APHIS rules!
I wanted to be sure that Delegates who were not at the meeting today and all club legislative liaisons received word of the announcement I made at today’s meeting.Small hobby and show breeders have all been concerned about the implications of the revision to the “Retail Pet Store Rule" by APHIS and the implication for that group. APHIS has heard your concerns. At last year’s NAIA conference the APHIS Deputy Administrator met with about 20 of us after the session to discuss our concerns and issues. He committed to work with us to work to resolve these issues.Two weeks ago, I was hired by Animal Care within APHIS as part of it central policy staff. My position, Canine Program Advisor, was advertised to bring in someone who would facilitate communication among APHIS, the breeder community, rescue groups and related animal interest groups. I will be providing APHIS staff with technical guidance on dog issues, assist in training their field staff, participate in developing program information material, conduct outreach and education and, most significantly, work on developing related policies and rules.Both the amendment to the Animals Welfare Act in the Farm Bill and Conference Committee Report provide an opportunity for APHIS to clarify the existing rules and provide for a more clear structure for exemptions from licensing. APHIS was asked to clarify the definition of “breeding female” and I will be working with other staff to do that. The changes to the law give the Secretary the authority to exempt from licensing those whose activities have a minimal impact on interstate commerce and the welfare of animals. Both the AKC GR staff and NAIA are aware that the additional authority granted by Congress was, in large part, directed at addressing concerns expressed by smaller breeders who were breeding to preserve bloodlines.I have asked for feedback from the Delegates and all clubs regarding what fact-based standards would work for your breed in your real world activities. APHIS needs solid data, not conjecture, to bolster each type of exemption and the exemptions should be tailored, to the extent possible, to a range of situations, not just a particular breed. For example, what data are there to provide a basis for determining when the number of animals being bred is insufficient to maintain breed existence? For all of the concerns expressed during the process of adopting the new rule, real world, grounded examples are needed to support an suggestions made to provide for exemptions.As I said at the Legislative Caucus, drafting rules to include one group of require licensing of another group are fairly easy. What is difficult is writing a rule that the bad actors can’t wiggle around while still permitting those properly caring for their animals through. This all started because large breeding facilities that were previously excluded from the retail pet store definition because they sold wholesale, began selling dog of questionable health directly to purchasers through internet sales. That was the target of the rule revision. It is your mission (in your own self interest) to provide APHIS with the information that justifies including one group under licensing requirements, while exempting another group. And it can’t be “because we are the good guys.” It has to be some fairly objective criterion or criteria that are unassailable. Because you know there are those out there who will claim that just because you breed, you are suspect.I can be reached at Julian.D.Prager@aphis.usda.gov. I look forward to your assistance in developing clear rules and meaningful exemptions for activities which have a minimal effect on interstate commerce. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please let me know. This is a complex process and it will take time to address Congress’ changes to the law and requests to the agency. In the meanwhile, the current rule is being enforced. Since discussions are just starting internally, I cannot tell you where this will wind up, but there is a way forward and I ask for your help in establishing a clear path ahead.Julian Prager
Sort of creepy how we see prominent people doing their political power dances. First the USDA hiring from the ranks of the HSUS, then we had Ed Sayres and PIJAC, and now Julian Prager and the USDA! I'm afraid to see what will happen next!
"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."Or we could revise it for today:
"You cannot serve both the breeding community and the USDA-APHIS."