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  legislation > Animal Welfare Act (AWA)


“The issue before this committee is not whether dog is man’s best friend. Impassioned oratory through the ages offers conclusive proof that he is. The issue is whether man will return this friendship.” Congressman George Grider (TN) made this statement in 1966 when the Animal Welfare Act was first debated.

One of the ‘main’ federal laws governing certain animals is called the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). A tremendous amount of information exists on the Internet explaining and assessing the Animal Welfare Act (pros and cons).

The Animal Welfare Act provides a framework for the humane care and treatment of certain animals. In the view of many, however, the actual enforcement of the regulations has been ineffective, and the type of animals protected limited.



AWA - History
It all started with one stolen dog, named Pepper. The public was outraged and the Animal Welfare Act was created.

AWA - Enactment
Enacted in 1966, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is administered by the Animal Care Program of the USDA-APHIS.

AWA - Licensing and Exemptions
The USDA has revised the definition of "retail pet store" to include pet animals sold over the Internet and through other means.

AWA - Standards and Loopholes
The AWA requires that humane standards of care and treatment be provided to certain animals.

AWA – Inspections
A main concern of the AWA is the lack of violations cited during inspections and the inability or unwillingness to make violators comply.

AWA – Suggestions for Improvements
There are ways to improve any law and its administration. The USDA is asking for public comments to the AWA licensing requirements (per August 2017).

AWA – Animal Care Policy Manual
In 2007, the public was asked to submit comments to the Animal Care Policy Manual which sets guidelines for the administration of the AWA.

USDA - Contacts



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