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USDA Seeks Public Input on Recognizing Third-Party Inspections and Certifications of Animal Welfare Act Facilities

On December 19th the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the agency is seeking public input on whether they should recognize inspections (and similar reviews) by third-party programs when determining the frequency of federal inspections for facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act.

Beginning on January 18, 2018, the agency will host four in-person listening sessions and one virtual session. Any interested person may speak. A list of locations and dates for these sessions, along with instructions for registering, are available at: www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis.

USDA/APHIS inspectors conduct routine, unannounced inspections of all Animal Welfare Act licensees and registrants. Various factors determine the inspection frequency for each entity including a facility’s history of adhering to the federal regulations and standards. Some licensees and registrants already use a third-party program to support animal welfare at their facilities.

The agency is interested in learning more about these programs and hearing the regulated community’s and stakeholders’ views on how we might consider the use of these programs in our administration of the Animal Welfare Act.

“We are always looking for ways to serve our regulated community and direct our resources more effectively,” said Animal Care Deputy Administrator Bernadette Juarez. “Recognizing third-party inspections may be a good way to support compliance at facilities, while allowing us to devote more of our time to helping those licensees and registrants who need it most.”

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