Obama Administration Tightens Grip on Hobby Pet Breeders

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Don’t believe the “job-creating” rhetoric coming out of the current administration. At every turn, Obama’s bureaucrats are developing new and creative ways to make it more difficult for small businesses to survive. Down at the Department of Agriculture, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has decided to broadly expand their jurisdiction. Under the new proposed rule, all pet breeders who sell their animals over the internet, phone, or mail will now be subjected to the demanding licensing and inspection requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

puppies-tilting-headsUnder current law, retail pet stores are not required to comply with the Animal Welfare Act. The proposed APHIS rule would strip the retail pet store exemption from any breeder who uses the internet, phone, or mail to sell their pets, as many have chosen to do in the modern economy. During a conference call unveiling the rule, APHIS clarified that if a breeder sells even one animal in a location other than where the animal was bred, the breeder would then be subject to the AWA. They refer to this change as “closing a loophole.” In actuality, it is a vast expansion of the regulatory jurisdiction of the federal government.

The purported reason for the proposed change is to ensure that all pets sold to consumers sight-unseen are delivered in a healthy condition. Their Notice of Proposed New Rulemaking observes that the USDA has received “some” reports in recent years of dogs purchased over the internet arriving in bad health. APHIS then goes on to mind-bogglingly admit that while they have no evidence to suggest that this situation occurs at any greater frequency than dogs purchased directly from a traditional pet store, a vast expansion of their regulatory power is immediately necessary in order to address this crisis.

Unsurprisingly, the rule is being pushed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a group which has a long history of trying to put breeders out of business. For those unfamiliar with HSUS, they are essentially PETA in suits, and they raise hundreds of millions of dollars a year from sappy commercials picturing abused dogs, while spending less than 1% of that money per year on the actual care of animals. The rest, of course, is spent lobbying on behalf of their radical agenda to make animal ownership and consumption prohibitively expensive. HSUS is calling the new rule “a huge step forward for the welfare of dogs in puppy mills.” A “puppy mill” is the affectionate term used by HSUS to describe all dog breeding establishments.

The licensing and inspection requirements which will be placed on breeders after the adoption of this rule will impose thousands of dollars in costs and will cause many hobby breeders to close up shop. During hard economic times, hobby breeding has become a way for many struggling American families to make ends meet. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is coordinating with radical activists to implement job-killing policies through the rule-making powers of bureaucrats with no oversight from Congress. Hopefully, Washington DC will get the memo that American businesses don’t need any more rules.

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