Animal Transportation Company Fined By USDA After Ferret Deaths

The USDA has fined a New Jersey animal transport company for the deaths of ferrets in August 2014. They did not survive the trip from the airport.

ferret in carrier
© 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 date of the violation is listed as between August 4 and 5, 2014. The citation can be viewed at the USDA website in the 2015/September 2015 folder. 

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.

The USDA/APHIS website states that violations to the AWA are acted on in a variety of ways. It further states:

“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.”

BioTrans was given a stipulation and fined $12,825 for the alleged violation(s). The maximum penalty per animal is $10,000.

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.

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