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Rule

Microchip Implants as an Official Form of Identification for Pet Birds

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We are amending the regulations to allow the use of microchip implants as an acceptable form of identification for pet birds of U.S. origin returning to this country after being outside the United States. The regulations have previously provided only for the use of leg bands or tattoos to identify such birds, but microchips have become the preferred method of identification used by avian veterinary practitioners. This action provides for the use of an additional means of identifying certain U.S. origin pet birds while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of communicable poultry diseases into the United States.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

September 11, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Dr. Sara Kaman, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Technical Trade Services, National Center for Import and Export, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 39, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-8364.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The regulations in 9 CFR part 93 (referred to below as the regulations) regulate the importation of certain animals and birds, including pet birds, to prevent the introduction of communicable diseases of livestock and poultry.

On January 11, 2002, we published in the Federal Register (67 FR 1418-1419, Docket No. 01-023-1) a proposal to amend the regulations to allow the use of microchip implants as an acceptable form of identification for pet birds of U.S. origin returning to this country after being outside the United States.

We solicited comments concerning our proposal for 60 days ending March 12, 2002. We received four comments by that date. They were from private citizens, one breeder, and one group of students who had conducted an informal survey of seven local avian veterinarians and pet stores. All of the commenters were in favor of allowing the use of microchip implants as an acceptable form of identification for pet birds of U.S. origin returning to this country after being outside the United States. One commenter did suggest that a public hearing might be necessary “to provide affected parties an opportunity to present information that will later go into consideration as the final amendment is made.” Given the limited scope of the rulemaking and the small number of commenters who responded to the proposal, we find that a public hearing is unnecessary.

Therefore, for the reasons given in the proposed rule and in this document, we are adopting the proposed rule as a final rule, without change.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866. The rule has been determined to be not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.

We are amending the regulations to allow the use of microchip implants as an acceptable form of identification for pet birds of U.S. origin returning to this country after being outside the United States. The regulations have previously provided only for the use of leg bands or tattoos to identify such birds, but microchips have become the preferred method of identification used by avian veterinary practitioners. This action provides for the use of an additional means of identifying certain U.S. origin pet birds.

The groups affected by this action are pet bird owners who travel with their birds outside the United States and microchip manufacturers. According to the port of entry records of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), approximately 400 bird owners traveled outside of the United States with their pet birds in calendar year 2000. Under this final rule, those bird owners will be allowed to use microchip identification instead of the leg bands or tattoos that had been provided for by the regulations. Bird owners will benefit from this change because it is becoming more difficult to find a veterinarian who carries leg bands for pet bird identification, and tattoos are rarely used to identify birds any more. Microchips will thus make the task of identifying a pet bird before leaving the United States more convenient. In most cases, an APHIS inspector at the port of entry will be able use a microchip scanner to confirm the identity of the bird without handling the bird or removing it from the cage, thus avoiding additional stress on the bird.

Bird owners who choose to identify their birds with a microchip will have to pay $25 to $40 per microchip plus the cost of the veterinary office visit to insert the microchip. The cost of the microchips is projected to be slightly higher than the conventional leg band, although current costs for leg bands and tattoos are not available due to the lack of veterinarians who will perform these services.

Microchip manufacturers may benefit from a slight increase in microchip sales generated by this rule. It appears that all potentially affected microchip manufacturers (NAICS code 334111) are small entities, according to Small Business Administration criteria (i.e., 1,000 or fewer employees).

In summary, this rule provides pet bird owners with an additional means of identifying their pet birds while allowing APHIS to maintain the high level of security required in order to keep avian diseases, such as exotic Newcastle disease and highly pathogenic avian influenza, from entering the United States. Start Printed Page 52394

Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Executive Order 12988

This final rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This final rule contains no new information collection or recordkeeping requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

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List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 93

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Accordingly, we are amending

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PART 93—IMPORTATION OF CERTAIN ANIMALS, BIRDS, AND POULTRY, AND CERTAIN ANIMAL, BIRD, AND POULTRY PRODUCTS; REQUIREMENTS FOR MEANS OF CONVEYANCE AND SHIPPING CONTAINERS

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1. The authority citation for part 93 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1622; 19 U.S.C. 1306; 21 U.S.C. 102-105, 111, 114a, 134a, 134b, 134c, 134d, 134f, 136, and 136a; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.22, 2.80, and 371.4.

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[Amended]
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2. In § 93.101, paragraph (c)(2)(i) is amended by removing the words “leg band or tattoo number” and adding the words “number from the leg band, tattoo, or microchip” in their place and by removing the words “leg band or tattoo on” and adding the words “number from the leg band, tattoo, or microchip on” in their place.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 7th day of August 2002 .

Peter Fernandez,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 02-20329 Filed 8-9-02; 8:45 am]

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