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house Bill H.R. 1042

Should Zoos, Animal Dealers & Research Facilities Have Emergency Plans for Their Animals?

Argument in favor

Domesticated animals and wild animals in captivity are incredibly vulnerable in the aftermath of natural disasters. It’s important for facilities that house these animals to have plans in place to ensure their safety and proper care during and after emergencies.

IllWill's Opinion
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03/19/2019
All animals that are under the care of humans need to be protected in the case of a natural disaster. It should be a part of our basic humanity to also ensure the safety of animals.
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03/20/2019
For sure. If you have rare animal species and keep them caged, you should provide Emergency Management plans and procedures to keep them safe during an environmental event, as well as keep the public safe and the environment safe. This means making sure they have a place to go and cannot escape into the wild during an event, in which they can harm the public or the environment. Case in point, a private zoo lost some monkeys in Orlando, FL and the monkeys were living in the forest. They are exotic species and can cause environmental harm as well as ecosystem harm, if not contained, just like the Lion Fish that is destroying full aquatic ecosystems.
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Jim2423's Opinion
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03/20/2019
Anytime you begin to house animals, you have to have a way for evacuation of said animals. Whether in your home, on your farm, or in a zoo. That is your responsibility to the animals you are housing.
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Argument opposed

The USDA already funds a center to help zoos and aquariums prepare for natural disasters. Additionally, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) already requires its member organizations to have disaster plans in place in order to maintain their accreditation. These mechanisms are enough to ensure that animals in captivity are safe during natural disasters.

Chickie's Opinion
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03/20/2019
If AZA already requires zoo’s and aquariums to have contingency plans due to inclement weather, perhaps AZA needs to tweak their requirements already in place. It seems this bill is trying to reinvent the wheel versus placing a checking system to ensure the wheel is ready to go. In regards to research/testing facilities that use animals, (of which I am in total disagreement with; but that’s for a different post), And other animal situations, they should be required to prove that have safeguards in place before given licenses/accreditation and continue the safeguards before re-licensing/re-accreditation is given.
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JTJ's Opinion
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03/20/2019
Of course they should, but this is not an issue for the federal government.
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ManfromNebraska's Opinion
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03/20/2019
They need to have a plan but the government does not need to be involved in creating some regulation. Congress does not have any wisdom in what is needed. This is up to each facility to take care of it’s needs.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Agriculture
      Livestock and Foreign Agriculture
    IntroducedFebruary 7th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1042?

This bill – the PREPARED Act — would require entities regulated by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) under the Animal Welfare Act, such as zoos, commercial animal dealers, research facilities, to have contingency plans in place to safely evacuate, care for, and humanely handle their animals in case of emergencies or disasters.

The entities affected by this bill would be required to include provisions for the following:

  • Identifying situations, including natural disasters and emergencies, that’d trigger the need to implement the measures identified in the plan;
  • Outlining tasks to be carried out in response to emergencies or disasters, including animal evacuation or shelter-in-place instructions and provisions for providing backup sources of food and water as well as sanitation, ventilation, bedding, and veterinary care;
  • Establishing a chain of command and identifying the individuals responsible for fulfilling the tasks in the emergency plan; and
  • Addressing how response and recovery would be handled in terms of materials, resources, and training needed.

On an annual basis, all entities affected by this bill would be required to: 1) submit their emergency plans to the USDA and 2) train all their employees in emergency procedures on an annual basis.

The entities affected by this bill would be zoos, commercial animal dealers, research facilities, exhibitors, intermediate handlers, and carriers (covered persons).

This bill’s full title is the Providing Responsible Emergency Plans for Animals at Risk of Emerging Disasters Act.

Impact

Zoos; commercial animal dealers; research facilities; animal exhibitors; intermediate animal handlers; animal carriers (covered persons); natural disaster response; emergency response; the USDA; and the Animal Welfare Act.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1042

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Dina Titus (D-NV) reintroduced this bill to ensure that zoos, commercial animal dealers, and research facilities have contingency plans in place to safely evacuate and care for their animals in the case of emergencies or disasters:

“The lives of animals are too precious to leave to chance. This bipartisan bill will ensure that zoos, commercial breeders, research facilities, and the like are prepared to keep their animals safe when disaster strikes. Sadly, we’ve learned that if these entities do not have a plan in place when an emergency hits, it is already too late. I’m grateful for the support of Representative King and the many animal advocacy organizations that are helping advance this important legislation.”

The Animal Wellness Foundation is one of a number of animal welfare organizations that supports this bill. Its Director of Federal Affairs, Holly Gann, says requiring labs, zoos, and other USDA-regulated facilities to have contingency plans for their animals is “common sense":

“Disasters don't discriminate, and they threaten people and animals. It's just common sense, and common decency, that commercial operations – such as commercial dog breeders and animal circuses – should have plans in place to ensure the safety of the animals in their care.”

Julia Barnes, director of animal care and health at the Santa Barbara Zoo, notes that emergency and disaster preparedness for zoos has been “a very hot topic” over the past five years. She observes, “Earthquake is always a risk, so that’s been talked about forever. But with climate change, we are seeing these extreme weather events, and we’re feeling the effects of them.”

This bill has 54 bipartisan cosponsors, including 50 Democrats and four Republicans, in the 116th Congress. Prior to this Congress, this bill’s previous title was the “Animal Emergency Planning Act.” Rep. Titus first introduced this bill in the 113th Congress in 2014 with the support of five Democratic cosponsors. At that time, this bill didn’t receive a committee vote. In the 114th Congress, Rep. Titus reintroduced this bill with the support of 31 bipartisan cosponsors, including 26 Democrats and five Republicans, and it again didn’t receive a committee vote. Most recently, Rep. Titus reintroduced this bill in the 115th Congress with the support of 51 bipartisan cosponsors, including 44 Democrats and seven Republicans, and it again didn’t receive a committee vote.

This bill has the support of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Animal Welfare Institute, Animal Wellness Foundation, Best Friends Animal Society, and the Humane Society.


Of NoteWhen natural disasters strike, zoo animals are particularly vulnerable to being hurt, as they’re in enclosures that are designed to prevent them from escaping. When these animals escape their enclosures during disasters, they can also pose a public health risk, as many zoo animals are wild, powerful creatures. Natural disasters can also pose an indirect threat to zoo animals’ survival, as some of them rely on fresh shipments of food to survive, and others need electricity and running water.

With these risks in mind, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) requires all the animal care facilities it represents to practice an annual disaster preparedness drill in order to stay accredited and prepared. The AZA requires its accredited members to have written procedures for responding to fire, injury of visitors or staff, animal escape, and environmental emergencies specific to their region (i.e., earthquakes). However, not all zoos are AZA-accredited, and there’s little oversight of emergency response plans for non-AZA zoos.

The USDA backs an emergency-preparedness program for zoos and aquariums called the ZAHP Fusion Center. The Center helps professional animal handlers prepare for catastrophe. In December 2012, the USDA amended the Animal Welfare Act regulations to require zoos, as well as other organizations that exhibit animals, to conduct “contingency planning” and “training of personnel.” DJ Shubert, a wildlife biologist with the Animal Welfare Institute, argues that this is “grossly inadequate,” as facilities aren’t required to submit their plans for review, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service isn’t required to evaluate how well zoos’ plans worked after disasters. Thus, Shubert says, the reality is that “anything goes.”


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Khlongwangchao)

AKA

PREPARED Act

Official Title

To amend the Animal Welfare Act to require that covered persons develop and implement emergency contingency plans.

    All animals that are under the care of humans need to be protected in the case of a natural disaster. It should be a part of our basic humanity to also ensure the safety of animals.
    Like (92)
    Follow
    Share
    If AZA already requires zoo’s and aquariums to have contingency plans due to inclement weather, perhaps AZA needs to tweak their requirements already in place. It seems this bill is trying to reinvent the wheel versus placing a checking system to ensure the wheel is ready to go. In regards to research/testing facilities that use animals, (of which I am in total disagreement with; but that’s for a different post), And other animal situations, they should be required to prove that have safeguards in place before given licenses/accreditation and continue the safeguards before re-licensing/re-accreditation is given.
    Like (46)
    Follow
    Share
    For sure. If you have rare animal species and keep them caged, you should provide Emergency Management plans and procedures to keep them safe during an environmental event, as well as keep the public safe and the environment safe. This means making sure they have a place to go and cannot escape into the wild during an event, in which they can harm the public or the environment. Case in point, a private zoo lost some monkeys in Orlando, FL and the monkeys were living in the forest. They are exotic species and can cause environmental harm as well as ecosystem harm, if not contained, just like the Lion Fish that is destroying full aquatic ecosystems.
    Like (37)
    Follow
    Share
    Anytime you begin to house animals, you have to have a way for evacuation of said animals. Whether in your home, on your farm, or in a zoo. That is your responsibility to the animals you are housing.
    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
    Of course they should, but this is not an issue for the federal government.
    Like (20)
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    Share
    They need to have a plan but the government does not need to be involved in creating some regulation. Congress does not have any wisdom in what is needed. This is up to each facility to take care of it’s needs.
    Like (18)
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    I’m surprised it’s not already a requirement. I do feel it’s a State issue, not Federal.
    Like (18)
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    Yes. Zoos and animal parks need emergency plans for all the animals.
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    Yes as that becomes more and more the norm
    Like (13)
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    Our responsibility towards these beings doesn’t end with their capture. Once captured and imprisoned, we must humanely care for them lifelong, even through disasters. So yes, I expect plans in place and drills to be carried out and resources in place. Additionally, zoos and parks are holding the last of some species on earth. To not protect them and their breeding programs should imho be criminal and a huge loss of federal money.
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    Absolutely
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    By all means “Emergency Plans” should be established and practiced. Domesticated animals and wild animals in captivity are incredibly vulnerable in the aftermath of natural disasters. It’s important for facilities that house these animals to have plans in place to ensure their safety and proper care during and after emergencies. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻🐅🦓🐈🐕👍🏻. 3*19*19.........
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    This is also a no brainer, zoo animals should be evacuated to higher ground just like everyone else. Shouldn’t even be questioned
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    This should not be a federal issue.
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    Why don’t they now. It is imperative we provide emergency escape procedures at every location. There should be mandatory sprinklers systems in case of fire. This holds true of all barns holding any animal needs water systems to douce any fire to allow them to survive. these animals are our responsibility to ensure they are safe at all times. They can’t be enclosed or caged during emergencies where they just sit there to die an awful death. Not only is that irresponsible and inhumane it is insane.
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    Yes, after humans have taken the animals from their HOMES, we are now RESPONSIBLE! And this is just coming up NOW? This is just like TRUMP'S POLICY TO TAKE KIDS AND BABIES FROM THEIR PARENTS!
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    Of course they should.
    Like (7)
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    Animals that are under human protection should be afforded the safety that any human has when it comes to an emergency plan to evacuate in case of a natural disaster.
    Like (7)
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    Yes, they should all have plans in place to protect the animals. There should be a plan, in writing, and a backup plan. This is only responsible.
    Like (7)
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    Absolutely. Thank you to the author of this long delayed action. Yay for having a conscience.
    Like (6)
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