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Animal Welfare Act - Senate Report 1281 on 1966 Animal Welfare Act



Country of Origin: United States

Agency of Origin: Congress

National Citation: Senate Report 1281


Summary:  

As stated in Senate Report No. 1280 there were three main purposes for the proposed law in 1966:

1. To protect the owners of pet dogs and cats from the theft of their pets;

2. To prevent the use or sale of stolen dogs or cats for purposes of research or experimentation; and

3. To establish humane standards for the treatment of dogs, cats, and certain other animals by animal dealers and research facilities.3

In order to accomplish these goals, the law directed the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to set up a regulatory program to license all dealers in dogs and cats, to register all animal research facilities, and to provide humane care provisions, enforceable through inspections. To help eliminate the black market in pets, research facilities were required to purchase dogs and cats from licensed dealers. To help track down stolen pets, a system of record keeping was required for all animal dealers and animals research facilities. To assure the humane treatments of animals, the Secretary of Agriculture was authorized to establish an inspection program and adopt the necessary regulations. One of the more curious aspects of the 1966 Act was the limited list of animals which came under it: dogs; cats; primates; guinea pigs; hamsters; and rabbits.


Material in Full:

            The Committee on Commerce, to which was referred the bill (H.R. 13881) to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate the transportation, sale, and handling of dogs and cats intended to be used for purposes of research or experimentation, and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with amendments and recommends that the bill as amended do pass.

 

PURPOSES AND BRIEF SUMMARY

            The purposes of this bill, as amended, are (1) to protect the owners of dogs and cats from theft of such pets, (2) to prevent the use or sale of stolen dogs or cats for purposes of research or experimentation, and (3) to establish humane standards for the treatment of dogs, cats, and certain other animals (monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits) by animal dealers and medical research facilities.

            In summary, the bill as reported by the committee in the form of an amendment in the nature of a substitute–

(1)  Requires the licensing of animal dealers by the Secretary of Agriculture.

(2)  Makes it unlawful for a research facility to purchase animals from any dealer unless the dealer has been licensed.

(3)  Requires research facilities to register with the Secretary of Agriculture.

(4)  Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to promulgate regulations after consultation with other Federal agencies to insure–

 (a)  The humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of animal by dealers and research facilities except during actual research or experimentation as determined by a research facility;

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(b)  That dogs and cats are marked or identified in a humane manner;

(c)   That research facilities and dealers make and retain records of their purchase and sale of dogs and cats;

(d)   That licensed dealers and research facilities permit inspection of their facilities by legally constituted law enforcement agencies in search of lost animals;

(e)  That dogs and cats are humanely treated during auction sale; and

(f)   That inspectors will be able to confiscate or destroy dealer held and post research animals found suffering because of violations of the act.

(5)  Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to make inspections to determine whether dealers and research facilities are complying with the act.

(6)  Provides a criminal penalty for violation of the act by dealers and suspension or revocation of a dealer’s license for violations of the act or regulations issued there under with the right of review in the proper district court.

(7)  Provides that in the case of violations by a research facility the Secretary can apply to a district court for a cease-and-desist order.

 

BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR THE LEGISLATION

 

            This bill recognizes the need for Federal legislation to deal with the abuses that have developed as a result of the Nations’ vast program of medical research.  Much of this medical research involves experiments and tests with animals.  The demand for research animals has risen to such proportions that a system of unregulated dealers is now supplying hundreds of thousands of dogs, cats, and other animals to research facilities each year.

            The committee held 3 days of hearings on the subject of regulating those who sell, transport, or handle animals intended for use in medical research.  During these hearings, shocking testimony was received concerning the existence of pet stealing operations which supply some animals eventually used by many research institutions.  Stolen pets are quickly transported across State lines, changing hands rapidly, and often passing through animal auctions.  While in the hands of dealers, these animals are faced with inhumane conditions.  Quarters are cramped, uncomfortable, and unsanitary, with inadequate provisions for food and water.

            The public has been aroused by exposes of pet theft and the treatment encountered by many of these animals on their way to the medical laboratory.  Yet, State laws have proved inadequate both in the apprehending and conviction of the thieves who operate in this interstate operation, and in providing for adequate conditions within dealer premises.

            Much responsibility for creating this huge demand for medical research animals rests with the Federal Government.  Grants to research institutions for biomedical research have multiplied twelve-fold since the early 1950's.  H.R. 13881 provides a mechanism that will block the existing interstate trade in stolen pets and at the same time will insure humane treatment of those animals which are destined for use in research facilities.

 

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            However, it is not just the animal on the way to the laboratory that is faced with inadequate care and treatment.  The committee hearings disclosed that shortcomings existed in the care and housing that animals receive after arriving in many medical research laboratories.  Cramped quarters and inadequate care are often present, especially in the older research institutions.

            H.R. 13881 as amended by the committee also recognizes the need for upgrading animal standards in the laboratory, but at the same time provides adequate safeguards to insure that medical research will not be impaired.  While all witnesses before the committee recognized the need for improving care and housing in the research laboratory, contradictory testimony was received on the question of whether this problem was a responsibility for the Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.  After lengthy consideration, including an extra day of hearings on the specific issue, it was the committee’s determination that the Department of Agriculture was the proper agency for regulating care and housing in the laboratory.  However, the committee was very careful to provide protection for the researcher in this matter by exempting from regulation all animals during actual research or experimentation, as opposed to the pre- and post-research treatment.  It is not the intention of the committee to interfere in any was with research or experimentation.

            The medical research community was unanimous in its position that additional funds might be needed in order for many research facilities to meet desirable standards in their animal care facilities.  The committee took cognizance of this situation by providing that the Secretary may grant extensions if time for compliance by research facilities beyond the 6-month compliance time in the bill, provided that the research facility can comply within a reasonable time.

            The bill does not provide for any additional Federal funds for laboratory animal care facilities.  It is hoped that the appropriate committees in the Congress will be able to consider the desirability of additional aid to research facilities for animal quarters in the future.

 

SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

            Section 1.– This section sets forth the objectives of the bill which are (a) to protect owners of dogs and cats from the theft of such pets; (b) to regulate the transportation, purchase, sale, handling, and treatment of dogs, cats, and certain other animals in research facilities.

            Section 2.– This section contains definitions of eight terms used in the bill

            (a) The term “person” is limited to various private forms of business organizations.  It is, however, intended to include nonprofit or charitable institutions which handle dogs, cats, monkeys, guinea pigs, hamsters, or rabbits.  It is not intended to include public agencies or political subdivisions of State or municipal governments.

            (b) The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Agriculture.

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            (c) The term “Commerce” is defined as interstate commerce (1) between the several States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or (2) between points within the same State, territory, possession, or District of Columbia, but through any point outside of there, or (3) within any territory or possession of the District of Columbia.

            (d) The term “cat” is limited to a live cat of the species Felis catus.

            (e) The term “dog” is limited to a live dog of the species Canis familiaris.

            (f) The term “research facility” means any school, institution, organization, or person (or defined in subsection 2(a) that uses or intends to use dogs or cats for research or experimental purposes and that (1) purchases or transports dogs or cats in commerce (as defined in subsection 2(c), or (2) receives and funds form a U.S. Government department, agency, or instrumentality for the purposes of carrying out research, tests, or experiments.  The research, tests, or experiments in subsection (2) is limited to research, tests, or experiments with animals (as defined in section 2(h).

            By limiting the definition of research facility in subsection 2(f) to those purchasing or transporting dogs or cats in commerce, the committee’s intention is to limit the coverage of this legislation to major research facilities and exclude the thousands of hospitals, clinics, and schools which use other animals for research and tests.  However, if an institution meets the definition of “research facility,” it is subject to regulations in regard to all animals defined in subsection 2(h).

            (g) The term “dealer” means any person (as defined in subsection 2(a) who regularly and for profit, transports, (except as a common carrier) or buys and sells animals (as defined in subsection 2(h) intended for use in research facilities.

            The definition of dealer is intended to exclude from licensing and regulation those nonprofit or charitable institutions and municipal dog pounds or animal shelters which supply animals to research facilities for compensation of their out-of-pocket expenses and not for a profit.  In addition the exclusion of farmers or pet owner who sell only an occasional litter of puppies or kittens or only a few dogs or cats to a dealer or research facility is intended.

            (h) The term “animal” is limited to live dogs and cats (defined in subsections 2(d) and (e)), monkeys (all nonhuman primate mammals), guinea pigs (species Cavia colaya), hamsters (species Cricetus cricetus), and rabbits (species Oryctolagus cuniculus).

            Section 3.– This section prohibits research facilities from acquiring any animal (as defined in section 2(l) from any dealer (as defined in 2(g) unless such dealer holds a valid license issued under section 11 of this legislation.

            It is the intent of the committee to allow research facilities to continue acquiring animals from those sources which do not meet the definition of a dealer (section 2(g)) such as municipal dog pounds or animal shelters, farmers, and animal breeders.

            Section 4.–This section prohibits dealers (as defined in section 2(g)) from conducting any animal (as defined in section 2(h)) business with research facilities or other dealers without a valid license.

            Section 5.– This section extends to departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Federal Government the same prohibition on animal purchases as applies to research facilities under section 3.

 

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            Section 6.– This section requires research facilities to register with the Secretary of Agriculture.  This is not a license provision.

            Section 7.– This section requires that the Secretary establish humane standards to govern the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of animals (as defined in section 2(h) by dealers and research facilities.  Standards for certain humane considerations are mandatory but the Secretary is given additional discretionary authority.  The intent of the committee is clearly set forth in the last sentence of this section which sates that the Secretary is not authorized to prescribe standards for the handling, care, or treatment of animals during actual research or experimentation by a research facility.  The important determination of when an animal is in actual research so as to be exempt from regulations under the bill is left to the research facility, but such determination must be made in good faith.  Research or experimentation is also intended to include use of animals as teaching aids in educational institutions.

            Section 8.– This section requires Federal departments, agencies, or instrumentalities to meet the same standards for the humane handling, care, and treatment of animals as required of research facilities under section 7.

            Section 9.– This section requires all cats and dogs covered by this bill to be marked or identified in a humane manner.  The methods, type, and time of marking or identification are to be prescribed by the Secretary.  The purpose of such marking and identification is intended as a means of tracing lost or stolen pets.

            Section 10.– This section requires record-keeping by dealers and research facilities with regard to the purchase, sale, transportation, identification, and previous ownership of dogs and cats.  The Secretary is directed to provide the proper forms for this record-keeping and these records are to be made available to the Secretary for inspection by him or any Federal officer or employee which the Secretary may designate.  The committee does not contemplate the designation of private citizens or non-Federal Government employees in the administration of this section.

            Section 11.– This section sets forth the requirements and procedures for issuing licenses to dealers.  A separate provision is included in the last sentence to allow persons who do not, for one reason or another, qualify as dealers (as defined in section 2(g)) to obtain a license.  It is the intent of the committee that nonprofit or charitable institutions and municipal dog pounds or animal shelters supplying animals for research, but not meeting the definition of dealer under section 2(g), be allowed to display their adherence to humane care of animals by obtaining a license under this section.  This section, however, is not intended to require those municipal pounds or animal shelters not now supplying animals for research or experimentation to alter their existing policies.

            Section 12.– This section directs the Secretary to make such investigations or inspection as he deems necessary to effectuate the purpose of the bill and insure compliance with the bill or any regulation issued thereunder.  The second sentence is intended to permit the Secretary to insure that animals suffering because of inhumane treatment are not left unattended.  It is the *2639*

intent of the committee that inspectors not be permitted to interfere with the carrying out of research or experimentation and that the application of the second sentence be specifically limited in the case of research facilities to animals whose use in experimentation has been completed and are suffering because of the lack of humane care while in their postoperative condition.

            Section 13(a).– This section directs the Secretary to consult with other Federal departments, agencies, or instrumentalities concerned with the welfare of animals used for research or experimentation when establishing standards of care and treatment.  The committee recognizes that other Federal departments have already developed experience in laboratory animal care and this experience should be made available to the Secretary.  In addition, continued cooperation with other departments and agencies is directed.

            Section 13(b).– This section directs the Secretary to encourage various States to adopt laws and take such action as will promote the purposes of this bill.  In addition, this section authorizes the Secretary to cooperate with State and local officials in preventing the theft of dogs and cats, in the apprehension of suspected dog and cat thieves, and in administering the other provisions of this legislation.

            Section 14.– This section prohibits dealers from selling or otherwise disposing of any dog or cat within 5 business days after the acquisition of such animals, or within such other period as the Secretary may specify in regulations issued pursuant to this legislation.  The purpose of the waiting period is to give owners, law enforcement officers, and the Secretary a greater opportunity to trace lost or stolen dogs and cats.

            Section 15.– This section directs the Secretary to establish rules and regulations which would require licensed dealers and research facilities to permit inspection of the premises and records upon request by legally constituted law enforcement agencies.  The purpose of this section is to expedite the search for stolen pets.  It is the intent of the committee that inspection under this section be specifically limited to searches for lost and stolen pets and that legally constituted law enforcement agencies means agencies with general law enforcement authority and not those agencies whose law enforcement duties are limited to enforcing local animal regulations.  It is not intended that this section be used by private citizens to harass or interfere in any way with the carrying out of research or experimentation.

            Section 16.– This section prohibits the sale of cats or dogs by auction sale or by weight except under regulations promulgated by the Secretary.  In addition, an auction sale or sale by weight must be conducted by a licensed dealer.  It is the purpose of this section to abolish the inhumane conditions which often arise at unregulated auction sales.

            Section 17 (a).– This section provides that nothing in the legislation is to be construed as authorizing the Secretary to regulate the handling, care, treatment, or inspection of animals which are undergoing actual research or experimentation.  The determination of when research begins and ends is to be made by the research facility.  It is the intent of this

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committee that such a determination must be made in good faith.  Actual research and experimentation also include the use of animals as a teaching aid in educational institutions.

            Section 17(b).– This section authorizes the Secretary to promulgate such rules, regulations, orders, and other administrative details as may be necessary to effectuate the purposes of this legislation.

            Section 18.– This section provides that any dealer who violates any provision of this act shall on conviction thereof be subject to a criminal penalty of imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000 or both.  It is the intent of the committee that this provision apply to each offense.

            Section 19.– This section provides–

            (a)   That if the Secretary has reason to believe that a dealer or any person licensed as a dealer has violated or is violating any provision of this legislation or any rule or regulation promulgated under authority of this legislation, he may suspend such person’s license temporarily but not for more than 30 days.  After notice and opportunity for hearing, the Secretary may suspend the dealer’s license for such additional period as he may specify, or he may revoke the license, and he may make an order that the dealer shall cease and desist from continuing such violation.

            (b)   That any person aggrieved by a final order of the Secretary regarding suspension or revocation of a license shall have the right, within 60 days after entry of such order, to seek review of such order in a Federal district court under the provisions of section 10 of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 1009).

            Section 20.– This section directs the Secretary to issue a complaint in writing to a research facility if he has reason to believe that the research facility has violated or is violating any provision of this legislation or any regulation promulgated under authority of this legislation.  If the research facility still continues in its violation after a 20-day period, the Secretary is then directed to apply to the district court in which the research facility is located for a cease and desist order.

            Section 21.– This section establishes the principal-agent relationship between dealers and their employees.

            Section 22.– This section carries a constitutional invalidity clause which states that if any part of this legislation, or individual circumstances concerning it, are held invalid, the remainder remains effective.

            Section 23.– This section authorizes the Secretary to charge, assess, and collect reasonable fees for licenses issued to dealers.  It is intended that these fees be adjusted equitably, taking into consideration the type and nature of the operation to be licensed.  It is not intended, however, that these fees cover the total costs of administering the provisions of this legislation.  These fees are to be deposited and covered into the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts.

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            Section 24.– This section specifies that the Secretary shall promulgate the regulations referred to in sections 7 and 10 as soon as reasonable but not later than 6 months from the date of enactment of this legislation.  Compliance by dealers with this legislation is required 90 days following promulgation of regulations by the Secretary.  Compliance by research facilities is required 6 months after promulgation of regulations by the Secretary.  However, in the case of research facilities, the Secretary may grant individual extensions of time to certain research facilities if he is convinced that these research facilities will be able to meet the regulations within a reasonable time.  The purpose for this extension of time for compliance by research facilities is to enable those research facilities whose compliance depends upon obtaining additional funds for construction or personnel to secure such funds.

 

COST

            The Department of Agriculture advised the committee that it estimates the cost of administering this legislation to be about $2 million per year.  However, license fees collected under the act would decrease to some extent the cost to the Government in the future.  Exact figures on cost are difficult to predict because the present number of dealers to be licensed is unknown.

AGENCY COMMENTS (omitted)

 



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