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Response or Comment

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In recent years, Congress has passed a number of laws that direct various government agencies to safeguard animal welfare. Our own agency has been involved principally in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act, and therefore we will limit this discussion to these two laws.

The Animal Welfare Act was passed in 1966 and amended in 1970 and 1976. The Act uses a system of licensing and registration to regulate a number of nonfarm businesses and organizations. These groups are required to provide humane care and treatment to regulated animals, which include hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats, monkeys and other nonhuman primates and most other warmblooded animals. A wide variety of practices are required under 10 federal standards which govern transportation, handling, housing, feeding, watering, sanitation, ventilation, shelter from extremes of weather and temperature, separation of incompatible animals, and veterinary care.

The Horse Protection Act, passed in 1970 and amended in 1976, protects only a single species- the horse- and regulates a single industry- the horse show business. Only a single practice of the industry is at issue- the showing or sale of horses whose gait is altered by pain in the legs.