USDA Animal Welfare Act

If you want to keep yourself away from the hassles of the federal Animal Welfare Act and other similar prohibitive legislation, then it is high time that you know about UFA. UFA stands for Unlawful Destruction or Damage to Animals. Under this act, if you or your business is found to be in violation of the act, then you will be held guilty and will have to compensate the injured animal. The punishment can range from a small fine to imprisonment. This makes the animal damages act a major concern for all people who deal with or raise animals.


The UFA was imposed by Congress as part of the Humane Slaughter Act. This was imposed on all states in the US. The purpose behind the act is to protect those creatures which are specifically made endangered or are of low value to the public. In other words, any harm inflicted on any of the four quadrant of the four legged creatures is just not okay.

This is done by making them extinct or severely handicapped. The thought of seeing their eggs being destroyed, their habitat becoming desolate, their population all dying off is repulsive to most Americans. But for the animals the suffering is even more gruesome. They do not have an option but to be destroyed by humans.

Under the USDA’s Office of Livestock Services, the four different categories of farm animals are classified as upland predators or wild-life animals. The UFA classifies farming operations as confined in a locked enclosure for the total elimination of the domestic fowl and breeding stock of those species. So far so good. The problem is that there is no law that specifies what exactly must be done when an American farm gets classified as having these four endangered categories. The result is that any and every operation within the four quadrant of the UFA is banned.

There is however an exemption clause included in the law. You can get an exception to get out of paying the fees and penalties if you can prove beyond reasonable doubt that the activities causing the damage are not intended to cause intentional damage. To apply for such an exception, you will have to go through a process with the SPCA. Once this has been done then you must ensure that the damage caused is not covered by any insurance and that it is not permanent.

Having an exotic animal on your land for purposes of farming is not the same as owning that exotic animal. As much as possible you should try to avoid it. The cost of importing an exotic from another country is incredibly expensive. Plus, there are complications involved with diseases that the indigenous animals might pick up from eating infected animals. And the animals themselves are subject to capture and euthanized without warning.

Owning an exotic is however quite different. First, the paperwork is a whole lot simpler. Plus you will never be put at risk of disease. The USDA’s definition of an Endangered Animal is one that has experienced a decline in numbers due to global, ecological or human factors that are harmful to the conservation of the species. The word ‘endangered’ also includes a species seen to be declining for economic, environmental or social reasons. So if an animal is being hunted it is considered endangered even if it is being reared for food.

So the law here pretty clear-cut. Don’t buy an exotic. If you are going to do that, at least make sure that you do all the research before hand. Then you should have no problem staying within the law. However the trade itself is a much different story.