Rx for Healthy Pets: Tighten Pet Import Regulations and Hug an American Dog
PORTLAND, Ore., April 7, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congress is
presently considering a Farm Bill that would put more stringent health and
screening requirements in place for importing dogs and puppies into the US
for resale. This is a critically important step in ensuring public health,
the health of our pets and the vitality of the pet industry in America.
American consumers are increasingly concerned about the quality, safety
and source of their products, especially imported foods and household
goods. "Our standards for pets should be no different," says NAIA National
Director Patti Strand, "but an unanticipated problem is complicating
matters for American families who want to acquire a dog: campaigns to end
pet overpopulation have been so successful that US breeders can no longer
meet the demand of American consumers and thousands upon thousands of
foreign dogs are being imported into the US each year."
Up to 300,000 dogs are brought into the US annually, according to the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There is a dynamic
at work that American pet consumers need to know about.
"The majority of Americans understand today what it means to be
responsible dog owners," says Strand. "They consider their dogs to be part
of the family and take the necessary precautions to prevent unwanted
puppies by having them spayed or neutered, or by keeping intact (breeding)
dogs under careful supervision. Meanwhile, shelter euthanasia rates have
plummeted to a fraction of their former highs in most parts of the country
as fewer dogs enter shelters and shelter personnel have become skilled at
marketing their adoptable dogs to the public.
Yet broad-brush anti-dog breeding campaigns to end dog overpopulation
continue unabated, reducing the number of good breeders and well-bred dogs
right along with the bad, so there are fewer American-bred puppies for sale
-- and even fewer adoptable dogs available at shelters.
Consequently, when consumers want more dogs than American sources can
supply, legal and illegal importation of foreign dogs rises dramatically.
These imported dogs displace higher quality American dogs. Because imported
dogs are poorly screened or smuggled in without screening, they also bring
zoonotic (animal-to-human) diseases such as rabies, and potentially expose
the U.S. pet, livestock and wildlife populations to diseases and parasites
that are not present here.
In the face of ongoing "overpopulation" campaigns, smugglers run black
market operations to meet puppy shortages. European commercial breeding for
export to the U.S. is exploding and some enterprising American shelters and
national humane organizations have begun importing foreign street dogs to
"An all too familiar American scenario of outsourcing has developed,"
Strand notes, "where conscientious US dog breeders who have raised quality,
health, and welfare standards to levels unmatched in the rest of the world
now find their puppies displaced by an influx of dogs produced in foreign
countries that do not adhere to our high standards. Good intentions
promoted by fundraising groups and international humane relocation
operations have managed to outsource American dog breeding and put our pets
-- and us -- in peril."
The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians
recommends in their Animal Rabies Compendium that: "The movement of dogs
for purpose of adoption or sale from areas with dog-to-dog rabies
transmission should be prohibited."
The CDC is now considering tougher import regulations and the US Farm
Bill includes language to prevent the import of dogs less than 6 months of
age for resale or adoption. The National Animal Interest Alliance strongly
supports these and other necessary reforms, and urges others to do so as
"There is absolutely no reason we should be importing a single foreign
dog for resale or adoption while dogs in US shelters are being euthanized,"
says Strand, "and when you take the added public health risks into account,
it simply does not make sense."
For more background and press coverage of this issue, see the following
SOURCE National Animal Interest Alliance