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AFA Still Working with USDA to Regulate Kit Sales

The following is an update to an ongoing issue the American Ferret Association has been involved in to regulate the sale of baby ferrets in the United States. For background information, reference articles posted on July 1, 2002 and October 7, 2002 which appear in our News Archives section.

In reference to the July 1, 2002 article regarding the above, we have been advised, after numerous inquiries, that the USDA is still working in the Rule Making Committee to add ferrets to previous legislation. The legislation currently in place is called the “8 week rule”. Dr. Chester Gipson of the USDA has informed us that legislation takes some time and gave us an example such as the Animal Welfare Act being revised in 1985, which was not completed until 1991.

In an effort to help the current problem of underage/underweight baby ferrets being shipped prematurely, the USDA is willing to provide a brochure to be handed out to every USDA licensed pet shop/dealer/middleman that deals with ferrets. This brochure will provide them ways in which they can identify babies that have been shipped too early and also provides phone numbers if the public sees tiny babies that are having difficulty eating because of their age/weight.

Dr. Gipson has stated that the public can notify Dr. Jerry Depoyster, 301-734-7586 (e-mail and Dr. Betty Goldentyre, Eastern Regional Director) 919-716-5532 ( From the response I received from the original article, many of you will be notifying USDA of the problems currently seen, mainly in pet shops, and we hope to keep pressure on them to get this brochure out. The American Ferret Association will be working directly with USDA personnel regarding the contents and wording of this brochure.

Gail Suzanne Burlaka