The U.S. Department of Agriculture/ APHIS/ Animal Care (USDA) has recently received a verbal legal opinion that, contrary to the initial understanding, the final language in the amended Animal Welfare Act (AWA) indicates that birds and certain rats and mice (except for those forms bred specifically for research) are required to be covered under the Act. Thus, at this time, USDA is planning to proceed with a Proposed Rulernaking which will describe the scope of licensing requirements, minimum standards requirements, inspections of facilities and who will be covered under this new law. Breeders, dealers, transporters, exhibitors, and carriers are all included at present, but how these terms will be defined is critical. Representatives of all these categories need to provide input to insure that reasonable definitions and regulations are developed.

The AWA is one of the most significant laws that has ever been passed in regard to U.S. aviculture. USDA is scheduled to make the first public presentation regarding the status of this Proposed Rulemaking as it may relate to aviculture to those attending the Annual Convention of the American Federation of Aviculture, Inc. (AFA). This Convention is being held at the Hyatt Regency at Tampa City Center, Tampa, Florida over 8-11 August 2002. This Convention provides an early venue for aviculturists and other affected parties to have an impact on the regulations that may result from the Act.

Dr. Chester Gibson, along with other USDA representatives, will make a formal presentation to AFA Convention attendees describing the status of this Proposed Rulemaking Friday, 9 August 2002. They will invite questions and comments at the end of their presentation. Further, they will also maintain a booth in the Exhibit Hall throughout the entire Convention in order to be able to provide additional information, answer questions and receive comments. We urge that you attend the AFA Convention and express your views. If you fall into any of the affected categories (breeder, dealer, etc.), it is critical to your operation and to the future of aviculture in the U.S. that your opinion be voiced. This is your chance to be heard early in the process and make a difference.

Benny]. Gallaway, Ph.D. President

American Federation of Aviculture, Tnc.®