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Friday, July 20, 2012

More updates on APHIS

Ellyn over at Rabbit Smarties is really doing a great job with reporting on APHIS.

Here is her latest update! It's a must read, as it lets us all know who and what will be affected as of right now- she really breaks it down for all of us.

Ellyn is the creator of the Rabbit Smarties youth study books- they are fantastic.  While you are visiting her blog, please feel free to stop in to her shop and look around.

Here is also a letter from Eric Stewart:

"Dear ARBA members. The ARBA has been actively addressing regulatory concerns that impact our hobby and members. We have received a number of questions and misconceptions regarding the proposed revisions to the USDA’s Animal Welfare Act. This has been reviewed by independent legal counsel then also reinforced through direct correspondence with the USDA. The proposed revisions basically involve two items-

1) Inclusion of internet sales of wholesale pets

2) Increasing the number of breeding female dogs, cats, exotic and wild mammals (rabbits and cavies are not affected) from 3 to 4 before they are included in licensing requirements.

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA), adopted in 1970, has remained largely unchanged for the past 42 years. The overwhelming majority of ARBA members will not be effected at all by the proposed revisions to the AWA.

The ARBA has endorsed recommended care guidelines for rabbits and cavies. This initiative is to protect members and educate animal control officials of reasonable expectations for rabbit and cavy care. Cages sizes mentioned in the formal document are the federally mandated minimum sizes and actually smaller than what most breeders would use. Note that the notation “ft2” is “square feet” when detailing floor dimensions of cages; this is calculated by multiplying the width by the length of the floor. For example, 1.5 square feet would translate to a 12” x 18” cage for rabbits up to 4.4 pounds. 4 square feet would translate to a 24”x24” cage for rabbits between 8.8-11.9 pounds. We are looking into the addition of recommendations for weaned animals remaining together after the doe has been removed. Note that the cage height for rabbits is 14 inches and that is not involved in the floor dimension calculations. The document mentions several options with the term “may” such as the need for resting boards, etc. Clarification is made that rabbits do not require food 24 hours a day. The objective was to offer realistic recommendations to avoid some of the expectations imposed by less educated inspectors/officials.

The ARBA will be meeting with officials in Washington, D.C. in the coming weeks; once the formal dates have been secured notice and updates will be available. If you have specific questions for the USDA we will compile a sampling of questions to include in our meetings. Please send brief, clear questions for the USDA to eric@arba.net or Karen Horn kjhorn@gmail.com for inclusion in the sampling. As time will be limited we can only offer that a sampling of questions will be guaranteed. For further information on the topics mentioned, please go to http://arba.net/news.htm#current July 11th, 2012 for pdf copies of documents containing specific information regarding our USDA teleconference and the ARBA approved Recommended Care Guidelines for Rabbits and Cavies.

All the best,
Eric Stewart
Permission to cross post message granted in its entirety."


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