By Jeremy Rine
Columbus, OH –-(Ammoland.com)- If you hunt with dogs, know someone who hunts with dogs, or might want to own a hunting dog someday, you need to be aware of a focused campaign by animal rights organizations to regulate dog owners —and dog breeders— out of existence.
The animal rights folks’ idea is simple – bury sporting dog and hobby breeders under a mountain of unnecessary and costly regulations until none are left.
Why? Because many of them want to eliminate hunting with dogs, breeding purebred dogs, and all dog breeding.
Generally, we see most of their efforts at the state level. Already this year, more than 90 bills have been introduced across the country that could be harmful for sporting dog owners. Recently, the animal rights lobby persuaded the federal government to propose new rules that would expand the number and types of dog owners the federal government regulates.
Here’s why sportsmen should be worried:
New Federal Rule Would Regulate Many Hobby Breeders
To understand what is happening, you’ll need a little background on the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). As far as dog owners are concerned, the AWA is meant to regulate large wholesale dog breeders and sellers. Large breeders that fall under the AWA must comply with federal regulations, be licensed, and be inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture through their Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The AWA regulations were written with these large dog breeders in mind and were not designed or intended for hobby breeders. That’s why hunting dog owners and most other hobby breeders that sell dogs at retail (directly to the public) are currently exempt from the AWA’s regulation.
After lobbying by animal rights organizations, APHIS has proposed a new rule that would cause many hobby breeders to now fall under these regulations. If the rule is approved, a person selling dogs will fall under the AWA unless every single person that buys a dog from them physically enters that person’s business or residence before buying or picking up the dog to personally observe the dogs.
Under the rule, hobby breeders that sell just one dog over the phone or internet would be treated like large wholesale dog breeders and would be required to comply with federal regulations and inspections. The AWA was not meant to regulate these folks and could put many great hobby breeders out of existence.
Why the Rule Matters to Sportsmen
The good news is this proposed rule doesn’t mess with the sporting dog breeder exemption. You’re probably asking, “if sporting dog breeders are exempt, why does it matter?”
It matters because it shows how hard the animal rights folks are pushing their anti-dog breeder agenda. They’re not just lobbying the states; they’re working at the federal level too.
It matters because it is part of the BIG animal rights “divide and conquer” strategy. Each effort by these groups is meant to regulate more and more dog owners, not just the “puppy mills” they claim to be after.
Their next move could be removing the hunting dog breeder exemption altogether.
Sportsmen need to be aware of what is going on and understand the big picture – these groups won’t stop until it’s almost impossible to breed or use hunting dogs.
A comment period for the proposed rule runs until August 15th. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, as part of its Sporting Dog Defense Coalition, will be submitting comments to APHIS outlining concerns over the proposed rule.
The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen's organizations that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. Visit www.ussportsmen.org.