Animal Welfare Act – 1976 Amendment

The US Congress passes an amendment to broaden the Animal Welfare Act (P.L. 94-279), signed into law on April 22, to:

(1) regulate carriers, intermediate handlers and animal brokers, requiring adherence to humane standards;

(2) specify that all dogs—including dogs for hunting, security or breeding purposes—be protected;

(3) prohibit Collect on Delivery (COD) transportation of animals, unless the shipper guarantees payment of the round-trip fare and costs for care of the animals not claimed at destination. Additionally, animals cannot be transported at an age less than permitted by the Secretary of Agriculture, and dealers, exhibitors, auction sale operators and all governmental agencies are required to obtain a veterinarian’s certificate before delivering animals for transportation affecting commerce;

(4) extend the Secretary’s investigative authority to intermediate handlers and carriers, and authorize a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation of the humane standards;

(5) impose a uniform civil penalty of up to $1,000 on all persons regulated under the statute, and eliminate the requirement that the Secretary issue a cease-and-desist order before imposing a civil penalty on research facilities;

(6) make it a crime punishable by fine and imprisonment to knowingly sponsor, participate in, transport in interstate commerce or use the mail to promote fights between dogs, other mammals or cocks, except where state law permits this;

(7) require all government agencies—including the Army, Air Force and National Institutes of Health—using laboratory animals to show they fully comply with the Act.