message from TX-RPOA ~Farm Bill Update from Frank Losey

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>From Responsible Pet Owners Alliance Texas Outreach
Crossposting is encouraged.
February 11, 2014

The latest update regarding the Farm Bill/APHIS Rule is on the “Keeping Our
Domestic Animals” website.
Please support their lawsuit, seeking an injunction to stop enforcement of
the new USDA/APHIS Rule! (More information on the website.)

From Frank Losey:
On February 7, 2013, President Obama signed the “Farm Bill,” which includes
amendments to the Animal Welfare Act. The amendments provide that the sole
criterion for being exempt from USDA licensing is that the size of a breeder’s
business be “de minimis.” The Conference Report on the Farm Bill referenced
the Retail Pet Store Rule and mandated that
USDA and APHIS clarify several issues because of “confusion among the
regulated community.” The Conference Report made clear that Congress is
aware of the fact that a Rule was published by APHIS; that there is
“confusion;” that the term “breeding female” needs to be defined; that the
“de minimis” standard needs to be defined; that APHIS needs to clarify
“oversight of . . . sales . . . transactions in interstate commerce as
provided for under the Commerce Clause;” and that APHIS is expected to ” do
a new rulemaking to address these issues in the next year.”

Despite these developments, however, neither the Farm Bill nor the
Conference Report explicitly stated that the existing Retail Pet Store Rule,
that became effective on November 18, is no longer applicable. Thus, while
APHIS attempts to figure out how to implement the direction from Congress,
it is possible that APHIS still may use and enforce the Rule and no new,
modifying Rule is expected to be published for another year. In short, the
Farm Bill Amendments to the Animal Welfare Act did not revoke the Rule.
Consequently, unless USDA decides on its own to withdraw or suspend the Rule
or is directed by the Court to withdraw or suspend the Rule, APHIS may
continue to use and enforce the Rule against
hobby breeders who it believes should be licensed – – not a “warm fuzzy!”
The one positive thing that the Farm Bill language has done is to strengthen
the Legal Arguments set out in our Lawsuit because Congress has stated that
there is “confusion among the regulated community,” which is what we
asserted in our Lawsuit.

Based on the language in the Farm Bill and the Conference Report, we
have sent a letter to Secretary Vilsack on behalf of the 42 Plaintiffs
in the case. The letter includes the following quote:
“The concerns of the dog, cat and registry clubs on whose behalf I write
have been validated by the Act’s amendments to the AWA and by the Conference
Report. The amended AWA conflicts with the requirements of The Retail Pet
Store Rule. I therefore reiterate my request that you place a moratorium on
implementation and enforcement of the Rule until APHIS has complied with
Congress’ direction to conduct a rulemaking and the Rule has been replaced
by a final rule that faithfully reflects the
will of Congress.”

Also on February 7, 2014, the Government filed a Motion to Dismiss our
Lawsuit, which is what we expected the Government to do. The Government’s
Motion asserts that our Lawsuit should be dismissed because we “have not
identified any specific member of their organizations who has suffered or
will suffer an injury in fact.” Our opposition to the Government’s Motion
must be filed before February 21, 2014, and we
believe we have good facts and arguments to defeat the Motion. After we file
our opposition, we will set out in an Update the specific details of the
Until the Rule is either suspended by USDA or the Judge in the Lawsuit
determines that the Rule may not be enforced, the Farm Bill Language
does not mean that Hobby Breeders will not be faced with the prospect that
they may be required to be licensed. Thus, it is possible that thousands of
Hobby Breeders who do not meet the existing exemptions and exceptions as set
out in the Rule, and as determined on a “case-by-case” basis by APHIS, will
be required to become licensed with the USDA.

Moreover, as part of the licensing process, they will be required to
provide personal and financial information on their License
Applications. While some may not be alarmed with this fact, they should be.
As a result of a Federal Court of Appeals Decision that was issued on
February 4, 2014, the HSUS may request and receive, under the Freedom of
Information Act, the personal and financial information that is submitted
annually to APHIS by Licensed Breeders, as well as the same
personal and financial information listed on the Licensing Applications
submitted by Hobby Breeders who either decide or are required to apply for a
USDA License. And yes, the HSUS may and are expected to request all such
information under the Freedom of Information Act with respect
to every USDA Licensed Breeder throughout the entire U.S. And why do you
suppose the HSUS wants this information?!? Yet another reason for our
Lawsuit to continue to be pursued and supported.
Frank Losey

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Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinion of others….Stay tuned  -B


~ by topcatsroar on February 12, 2014.

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