USDA agency proposes minimum age to transport animals
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has proposed minimum age requirements for all covered animals in transport.
The regulations currently apply to dogs and cats, but not other regulated animals such as primates and marine mammals.
The proposed rules would require animals to travel with their mothers or be weaned and at least eight weeks of age for commercial transport.
'Unweaned animals and animals under the age of eight weeks are generally not yet able to eat and drink independently of their mothers and have a need for frequent nourishment and water,' APHIS said in a statement.
'For this reason, shipping young animals increases their risk of illness and death,' the agency said. 'This risk may be further increased if the animals are delayed during transport to their final destination.'
The proposed rulemaking provides an exception for transport to a licensed veterinarian for medical care when animals are less than eight weeks old or unweaned.
The proposal also provides an exception for animals to be transported to registered laboratories for use in specific research protocols, provided a transportation plan is submitted and approved by the appropriate APHIS animal care regional office.
To view the complete proposed rulemaking, access online: edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-10400.pdf.