Monday, April 25, 2011

Commercial Breeding: Life in a cage

H.B. 1251

Large scale breeding facilities are a major problem in Texas, and the problem is only getting worse. Hundreds of commercial breeders operating in Texas, run their facilities entirely overlooked by the state, creating a devastating atmosphere for the thousands of dogs and cats bred each season. With other states such as Missouri and Oklahoma passing legislation for the protection of animals within these facilities, Texas could quickly become a magnet for some of the worst operators who will choose to move to a less-regulated and restrictive state to continue operating their sub-standard facilities without fear of being penalized.

The passing of the Large Scale Commercial Breeder Bill will ensure the humane care and treatment of dogs and cats in the custody of large scale commercial breeders.

This bill will:

o Require Commercial breeders to obtain a license from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation(TDLR)
o Will allow TDLR to conduct annual inspections on all facilities
o Require adequate wholesome food and clean water for dogs and cats in the facilities.
o Will provide confined dogs and cats enough space to sit, stand, and turn around in a normal, easy manner.
o It will require proper ventilation and lighting for animals confined indoors.
o Will ensure adequate sanitary conditions within the living spaces
o Require proper handling, treatment and veterinary care for all animals living in the facility.

The bill will only apply to those categorized as “commercial breeders”, which is defined as persons or entities which have possession of 11 or more adult female dogs or cats and are engaged in the business of breeding those animals and selling their offspring. Pet stores selling dogs and cats, as well as small breeders (those having 10 or less female dogs or cats) will not be affected by the passing of this bill.

The bill is supported by a large group of animal protection organizations and is supported by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA). The TVMA was in opposition of a bill very similar to this one last session; however they feel as though this bill is fair and necessary. In addition to these contributors, both the Democratic and Republican parties have endorsed this legislation.

Courtney Collings


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