Thursday, July 25, 2024

Top 5 This Week

Placing Stronger Emphasis on Dog Safety to Sustain US Agriculture

The American Kennel Club (AKC®), a not-for-profit organization, the world’s largest purebred dog registry and leading advocate for dogs, has officially lauded the draft language released by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee for the 2024 Farm Bill – the Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024. In case you weren’t aware, upon approval, this particular bill will reauthorize U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs for five years, while typically serving as a vehicle to address federal priorities in the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). More on the act would reveal how it brings to fore enhanced protections for dogs under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including expanded resources for educational outreach. Next up, we must get into all the resources that will be available for USDA to more effectively enforce the AWA. This markedly includes reporting to Congress on existing enforcement with recommendations geared towards improving enforcement. Moving on to the references made towards animal care requirements. Here, we are essentially talking about clarification that will be made in regards to whether visual dental examination should be included in existing annual veterinary requirements. Then, there is a prospect rooted in improving upon USDA response against any dogs found in a state of “unrelieved suffering.” This the given bill will likely achieve by mandating better and timely notification of state and local authorities, if an inspector happens to find that dogs are being kept in unacceptable conditions.

“We appreciate the tireless and bi-partisan efforts of House Agriculture Chairman G.T. Thompson and his staff in presenting a bill that not only supports U.S. Agriculture needs, but also supports important priorities for dog enthusiasts including canine health, welfare and the rights of responsible dog owners,” said Dennis B. Sprung, President and CEO of American Kennel Club.

The act in question further expands USDA’s electronic health documentation requirements for pets entering the United States. Such a move is likely to reflect language in the Healthy Dog Importation Act (HR 1184). In essence, the bill will realize the stated expansion by establishing a requirement for electronic records documentation on dogs prior to their importation. This documentation is to basically confirm that the dog is in good health; microchipped; has received all necessary vaccination and parasite treatments, demonstrated negative test results, and also has a health certificate from an accredited veterinarian. Furthermore, assuming the given dog is intended for transfer, he should be no less than 6 months old. Having said so, the bill has exceptions for dogs that are personal pets of United States origin returning to the United States, as well United States military working dogs. These exceptions are also applicable for dogs that have been recruited to fulfill certain research-related objectives, as well as for the ones that come to the United States solely for veterinary treatment. Hold on, there are still a few bits left to unpack, considering we still haven’t acknowledged how the bill is going to conceive funding for transitional shelters that harbor victims of domestic violence, allowing victims to shelter with a pet. Such a maneuver goes a long way to ensure indicate efforts privately supported by the AKC Humane Fund, which on its part, ensures that concern for a pet left behind does not prevent a victim from seeking the necessary safety and shelter.

Another detail we still haven’t mentioned is how the bill codifies and provides permanent funding for USDA’s National Detector Dog Training Center in Newnan Georgia. This facility is, markedly enough, where specially selected dogs (and their handlers) are duly trained to identify invasive pests and diseases that threaten U.S. agriculture. Earlier bearing the name of “Beagle Brigade Act,” the particular measure even grants authority to create more dedicated training facilities and an off-site training program.