"The International Symposium for the Symbiotic Relationship
Between Human and Animals 2002"
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Deputy Administrator, Animal Care
Chester A. Gipson, DVM
The USDA is responsible for carrying out the mandates of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The AWA is a Federal law that ensures the humane treatment and welfare of animals used in regulated activities such as exhibition, research, transportation, and commercial dealing and breeding at the wholesale level.
There are no Federal laws that cover the welfare of privately-owned pets. As such, USDA does not have jurisdiction over these animals. State, County, and City governments usually have laws and regulations regarding the abuse of pets. There are also a number of private animal welfare organizations, such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the American Humane Association (AHA), and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), that work to eliminate cruelty to animals. It is partially through the efforts of these organizations (the media, industry, and the public) that animal welfare laws exist in the United States (U.S.) today.
Pet Ownership in the United States
There is a wide variety of domestic, wild, and exotic animals kept as pets in the U.S., and there are few restrictions as to the type of pet a person may own. American pets range from the usual such as dogs and cats to the unusual such as lions and tigers. Ownership of some wild or exotic pets sometimes will require the approval of the State or County in which the owner lives.
A 1996 study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) on the number and type of common pets in the U.S. found that approximately 58.2 million (58%) of all U.S. households (98.9 million) contained a companion animal at some time during 1916. Most of the households kept either dogs or cats, or a combination of dogs or cats with other pets as companions. At least one percent of all U.S. households kept fish, birds, rabbits, hamsters, or horses as pets. Companion animal ownership varied among geographic regions of the country. The lowest percentage of pet ownership, in 54.4 % of households, was in the Northeastern portion of the U.S., and the highest was in the Western Coastal States at 63.9%.
Pets in the U.S. are generally pampered and well cared for. Americans love their pets, regardless of their classification. They also believe they have an obligation to treat their pets humanely. Within the boundaries of the U.S., most pets can move freely from State to State with just a health certificate. Movement of certain animals is restricted, such as those on the CITES list or if banned by a State. Animals are often banned for humane reasons or because they pose a danger to the local ecology.
Most pets are banned from public facilities. But ﾒhelperﾓ animals such as Seeing-Eye dogs, are allowed to go anywhere with their owners, whether in a restaurant or a taxi cab.
Chester A. Gipson, DVM, MA
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Dr. Chester Gipson is Deputy Administrator of Animal Care, USDA, APHIS in Riverdale, Maryland, effective May 2002. He has more than twenty years of service with USDA, and has held numerous positions both on staff and in the field. He was previously assigned the position of Associate Deputy Administrator, Veterinary Services.
Dr. Gipson works with both animal industry and animal interest groups, and is responsible for the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). He oversees and is responsible for the activities of Animal Care Headquarters in Riverdale, Maryland; the Eastern Regional Office in Raleigh, North Carolina; and the Western Regional Office in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Dr. Gipson received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine Degree from Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama, and his Mastersﾕ Degree from the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
International Symposium for the Symbiotic Relationship between Human and Animals II
20th September 2002 Tokyo Japan
24th September 2002 Kyoto Japan
Animal Welfare Legislation in the United Kingdom: Time for a change?
David G. Pritchard BSc (Hons), B. Vet. Med., M.P.H., MRCVS,
Head, Animal Welfare Veterinary Division, Animal Health and Welfare Directorate General, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, 1a Page Street, London SW1P 4PQ United Kingdom
Currently DEFRA is responsible for the welfare of all animals except those used for research purposes for which the Home Office has responsibility. Local Authorities, Police, State Veterinary Service are responsible for the enforcement of animal welfare legislation although individuals may bring prosecutions. There are minor differences in legislation in the devolved administrations of Scotland and Northern Ireland and Wales.
Animal welfare legislation was aimed at preventing overt cruelty to all domestic and farm livestock. The rules on farm livestock were radically changed following Ruth Harrison's powerful criticism of modern intensive animal production in 1964. This led to the UK Government setting up the Bramble Committee then the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) to provide independent advice to Government and new legislation on farm animals in 1968. The concept of animal welfare arose to express ethical concerns relating to the treatment of animals rather than as a scientific concept. Three main approaches have been proposed: those based on feelings, on biological functioning and on behaviour in nature. None of these three necessarily lead to similar conclusions. FAWCﾕs philosophy of approach now widely accepted around the world, regards animal welfare to include the physical and mental states. Good animal welfare includes both fitness and a sense of well being, thus going beyond mere prevention of unnecessary suffering. FAWC proposed a framework of five freedoms to evaluate and safeguard animal welfare, viz.:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom to express normal behaviour
- Freedom from fear and distress
Those who care for livestock are important, as they are responsible for:
- caring and responsible planning and management
- skilled, knowledgeable, and conscientious stockmanship
- appropriate environmental design
- considerate handling and transport
- humane slaughter
The UK was a leader in introducing legislation to ban veal crates and tethered sows and introduced standards of care for farm animals that have largely been taken up by the European Union. For example the general welfare directive 98/58/EC binds keepers of farm animals to a ﾔduty of careﾕ to their animals by setting minimum standards of physical, health and behavioural needs of animals which goes beyond merely avoiding cruelty. The Treaty of Amsterdam in May 1999 introduced new rules for the European Unionﾕs actions in a special ﾒProtocol on the Protection and welfare of Animals ﾒ introducing the concept of sentience.
In 2000 new powers were introduced to facilitate the enforcement of welfare rules for farm animals. The UK has large populations farm livestock; around 10.6 million cattle, 36 million sheep and 6 million pigs, 163 million poultry.
According to a survey in 2001 people in the UK owned around 7.5 million cats, 6 million dogs, over a million hamsters, 0.75 million budgerigars. Of particular interest is the growing use of assistance dogs: over 4400 Guide dogs assisting blind persons and there are over 800 Hearing dogs currently in use in the UK.
These pet animals do not currently benefit from the same standards of legislation as farm livestock and research animals.
Early legislation on dogs concentrated on protecting the public and livestock from attack. Later legislation laid down standards and licencing for Breeding and Boarding kennels for dogs and horse riding establishments. The veterinary profession and pet industry promoted responsible pet ownership to improve pet behaviour in public and also to prevent fouling of the environment. There is continuing concern about pet welfare and currently DEFRA is considering new comprehensive legislation.
The new welfare bill will update the Protection of Animals Act 1911, which consolidated even earlier legislation. Around 1,000 successful prosecutions occur each year. However the 1911 Act only allows a prosecution to be brought if an animal has actually suffered.
UK law needs to be more pro-active and allow prosecution where an animal not currently suffering is being badly treated that suffering will be inevitable.
The Government intends to replace the 1911 Act with a new Animal Welfare Act consolidating and up-dating all welfare legislation relating to farmed, captive and companion animals
※A public consultation on the proposed Act produced nearly 2,500 replies.
※Enthusiasm for reform is strong among animal welfare groups, professional veterinarians, academics, local authorities and parliamentarians interested in animal welfare.
Possible areas for reform include:
※duty of care by the keepers of animals
※licensing for performing animals, livery yards and animal sanctuaries
※ banning the docking of dogs' tails ( therapeutic reasons only)
※increasing maximum penalties
※raising the minimum age at which a child can buy a pet to 16.
A major change to keeping of pets was the introduction of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) in February 2000 which allows pet cats and dogs, microchipped and vaccinated against rabies to enter the UK without spending 6 months in quarantine. PETS applies in western Europe, New Zealand and Japan - and there are plans to extend the scheme. . Over 45,000 dogs and cats came here under the scheme and over one and half million hamsters, Guinea pigs and reptiles.