This section contains notices from federal agencies printed in the Federal Register announcing proposed regulations or possible changes in government guidance documents that may affect the existing system of research animal protection.  Links to NABR and other public comments are provided when available.  If applicable, final rules published or other subsequent actions taken by the agency related to that proposal are shown.  The listing below by agency and subject is in chronological order beginning with the most recent notice.


U.S.Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Minimum Age Requirements for Transport of Animals

(Docket No. APHIS-2006-0024 published in the Federal Register on May 9, 2008 ; comments accepted until July 8, 2008 .)

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proposed a rule amending Animal Welfare Act ( AWA ) regulations by adding minimum age requirements for the transport in commerce of all covered animals.  The regulations currently contain such requirements for dogs and cats, but no corresponding ones for other regulated animals, despite the risks associated with the early transport of these species.  Under the proposed rule, all AWA -covered species would have to be weaned and at least 8 weeks of age in order to be transported. To view the full text of the proposal and for those of you who also filed comments, we thank you for your participation, and we encourage you to do so again in the future.  To view the full text of the proposal and comments that have been filed, please click here.

To view NABR comments please click here.

Ambient Temperature Requirement for Live Animals in Transport

(Docket No. 2006-0150 published in the Federal Register on January 3, 2008 ; comments accepted until March 3, 2008 .)

APHIS is proposing a rule to remove the current ambient temperature requirements for various stages in the transportation of regulated animals excluding marine mammals.  If accepted, the revised proposal would replace those requirements with a single performance standard under which the animals would be transported under climatic and environmental conditions that are appropriate for their welfare making acclimation certificates for live animals other than marine mammals unnecessary.  This proposal replaces a June 1999 proposed rule, which was withdrawn.  For full text and details about the proposed rulemaking, please click here.

Petition for Rulemaking to Change the Definition of Class “B” License

(Docket No. APHIS-2006-0158 published in the Federal Register on April 10, 2007.)

APHIS requested public comments regarding a petition for rulemaking submitted by the Hunte Corporation.  Said petition requests that APHIS replace the current definition of Class “B” licensee with four new categories of dealers: pet distributor, exhibitor animal distributor, laboratory animal distributor, and other distributor.  For full text and details about the proposed rulemaking, please click here. For NABR comments, click here (pdf).

APHIS Significant Guidance Documents

In response to the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) “Final Bulletin for Agency Good Guidance Practices” published in the Federal Register on January 25, 2007 (72 FR 3432-3440), APHIS has named significant guidance documents on its homepage and requested email comments from members of the public who wish those documents to be modified and/or to complain that the agency is not following the OMB Bulletin or is improperly treating a significant guidance document as a binding requirement.  A guidance document is a statement, other than a regulatory action, that sets forth policy concerning a statutory or regulatory issue or its interpretation.  Among three documents listed are the APHIS Animal Care Policy Manual, guidance developed primarily for APHIS inspectors but also provided to the regulated community.  For full text of the request for public input, please click here (pdf).

Final Rule Issued on Animal Welfare; Inspection, Licencing, and Procurement of Animals

(Published in the Federal Register on July 14, 2004)

The APHIS final rule amends the Animal Welfare Act regulations to revise and clarify the exemptions from the licensing requirements, the procedures for applying for licenses and renewals, and the restrictions upon the acquisition of dogs, cats, and other animals. These actions are necessary to help ensure compliance with the regulations and the AWA. For full text and details about this final rule, please click here.

Final Rule Issued on the Definition of “Animal” in AWA

(Published in the Federal Register on June 4, 2004 .)

The APHIS final rule amending the definition of animal in the AWA regulations makes the definition of animal in the regulations consistent with the new definition in the AWA . Existing USDA regulations exclude rats and mice bred for use in research, as well as all birds. This final rule narrows the scope of the exclusion of birds to only those bred for use in research. For full text and details about this final rule, please click here (pdf).

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Birds, Rats and Mice Not Bred for Research

(APHIS Docket No. 98-106-4 published in the Federal Register on June 4, 2004 .)

The advance notice of proposed rulemaking by APHIS, states “we are also considering several changes to the regulations to help promote the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of birds, rats, and mice not specifically excluded from coverage under the AWA .” The notice includes a request for comments on three specific issues. For full text and details about the proposed rulemaking, please click here (pdf).

Increase in User Fees for Veterinary Diagnostic Services

(Published in the Federal Register on May 6, 2004)

APHIS issued a final rule to increase the user fees for veterinary diagnostic services to reflect changes in operating costs as well as cost calculations. These changes went into effect on June 7, 2004 . For full text and details about this final rule, please click here (pdf).

Effective Date for Determination to Regulate Foreign Air Carriers

(Published in the Federal Register on April 6, 2004)

APHIS has confirmed its determination to apply the “Animal Welfare Act regulations and standards for the humane transportation of animals in commerce to all foreign air carriers operating to or from any point within the United States…” The effective date for the determination to regulate was April 7, 2004 .  For the full text of the notice included in the Federal Register, click here (pdf).

Proposed Rule on Animal Medical Records

(Published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2003 )

APHIS has issued proposed amendments to the AWA regulations that would require research facilities, dealers and exhibitors to maintain animal medical records as part of their adequate veterinary care programs. APHIS says it is necessary to implement this rule since maintaining such records is “implied,” but not specifically required under the AWA ; that it would serve as a means of communication between the agency and the regulated community to ensure that animals are receiving proper care; and that such records would provide a basis for APHIS “…to better assess veterinary care programs.” For the full text of the proposed rule, click here (pdf).  For NABR’s comments on the proposed rule, click here (pdf).


Federal Aviation Administration

Final Rule on Animal Air Transport

(Published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2003 )

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued its final rule requiring air carriers to compile and submit reports on incidents involving animals during air transport. In the final rule, “animal” is defined as “any warm or cold blooded animal which, at the time of transportation, is being kept as a pet in a family household in the United States .” A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between APHIS and FAA clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the respective agencies regarding the rule is pending. For the full text of the final rule, click here (pdf).  For NABR’s comments on the rule click here (pdf).