Update: AKC Federal Legislation Report

July saw the successful conclusion of two federal issues of importance to the dog fancy, both of...

July saw the successful conclusion of two federal issues of importance to the dog fancy, both of which were supported by the AKC. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued its long-awaited final rule strengthening the federal Animal Care regulations applicable to commercial dog dealers. Also, Congress enacted the "Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act," or MUMS, and President Bush signed it in to law earlier this month.

The amendments to the APHIS Animal Care regulations had been pending almost 4 years. The AKC supported the amendments when they were proposed, and for the past 2 years has been urging the Secretary of Agriculture directly, and through members of Congress, to finalize and implement them. The amendments tighten several loopholes and make needed housekeeping changes in the regulations pertaining to the licensing and enforcement of regulations applicable to persons who breed and sell dogs at wholesale or who procure dogs or cats for resale or for research. The most important changes include limiting the small breeder exemption to only those premises on which 3 or fewer breeding females of regulated species are kept, regardless of ownership. Previously, each person owning 3 or fewer breeding females and their breeding activity were exempt, regardless of how many breeding females were present on a single premises. The amendments also tighten procedures for issuing and renewing licenses in instances where the applicant has violated federal, state or local animal laws. They further preclude renewing a license while it is under suspension, and additionally provide for terminating a license for any reason that an initial license may be denied. Finally, the amendments also tighten the requirements for regulated entities such as Class B dealers and research facilities which acquire dogs from unlicensed entities.

Passage of the MUMS legislation was also supported by the AKC. The legislation will increase the availability of approved drugs for use in treating rare diseases in major species of animals (i.e. "minor uses") and for all uses in minor species (e.g. zoological animals). For the purpose of veterinary drug regulation, dogs are considered a "major species." Animal drugs must be label-approved by the FDA for each individual use in each individual species. For many of the less common diseases and conditions in major species (dogs), and for all uses in minor species (e.g. zoological animals), there is too little potential demand to justify the cost of the full FDA drug approval process. Use of drugs which are not label-approved entails risks and potential liabilities that many veterinarians are unwilling to incur. The MUMS legislation will permit the FDA to expedite the veterinary drug approval process for minor uses in major non-food animal species and in minor non-food animals species so that more drugs can be label-approved.

-submitted by AKC's Federal Government Relations Consultant, Dr. James Holt