© Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio
Heatstroke is always a concern whenever ferrets, or any animals, travel or get shipped.
On August 27, 2015, the USDA issued a citation and notification of penalty to BioTrans, LLC, of New Jersey. The fine is the result of alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act, specifically, handling of animals. The animals in this case were ferrets. The citation states:
“You failed to handle animals as expeditiously and carefully as possible in a manner that did not cause trauma, overheating, excessive cooling, behavioral stress, physical harm, or unnecessary discomfort. You hired a person that was not registered as a carrier or intermediate handler under the AWA to transport 27 ferrets from the Birmingham Airport to a research facility. This person contracted with another unregistered person, who in turn contracted with a third unregistered person, to transport the animals. Upon their arrival at the research facility, 25 ferrets had died from overheating and the 2 remaining ferrets were euthanized because of overheating.”
The Animal Welfare Act is federal law that sets standards for humane care of animals used in research. It began in 1966 as the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act and has been amended several times since, along with being renamed. The AWA is upheld and enforced by USDA Animal Care, a unit of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
“Many infractions can be settled with an official notice of warning or a stipulation offer. Official letters of warning notify a licensee or registrant that further infractions can result in more stringent enforcement action. Stipulations allow alleged violators to pay a penalty in lieu of formal administrative proceedings.”
When contacted for comment, a representative of BioTrans declined to make any statement at this time.
The fine was reported yesterday by the Birmingham News, which noted information about the fine was announced in a press release from an animal rights organization.