Questions about Federal Legislation?


The federal Animal Welfare Act regulates the care, handling and treatment of warm-blooded animals.

SPECIES: Any cat, dog, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit, and other warm-blooded animals used for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, exhibition or pets

    • Birds, rats (Rattus), and mice (Mus) used for research
    • Horses not for research
    • Other farm animals for food or fiber
    • Cold-blooded animals

Dealers – person who transports, buys, or sells dogs or other animals in commerce for profit AND dogs for hunting, security or breeding

  • EXCLUDES: Retail pet stores and carriers
  • INCLUDES: retail pet stores that sell to research facility, exhibitor or dealer

Exhibitors – person who exhibits animals purchased in commerce to the public for compensation

  • INCLUDES (profit or nonprofit): circus, animal act, zoo, educational exhibit, carnival
    • retail pet store
    • common, domesticated household pet owner with non-substantial income from nonprimary source exhibiting animal exclusively in residence
    • sponsors and participates of State and country fair, livestock show, rodeo, field trial, coursing event, purebred dog and cat show, and other fair or exhibition to advance agricultural arts and sciences
    • horse and dog races

Carriers - airline, railroad, motor carrier, shipping line, or other enterprise transporting animals for hire

Research Facilities – school, organization, institution or person using live animals in research, tests, or experiments that purchases or transports them in commerce OR receives funds from US department, agency or instrumentality

Intermediate Handlers – person with business that receives custody of animals in connection with transport in commerce

  • INCLUDES: department, agency, or instrumentality of US, state or local government
  • EXCLUDES: dealer, research facility, exhibitor, those exempt from dealer/research/exhibitor, auction sale operator, carrier

Retail Pet Stores (exempt from law) – business or residence where buyer, seller and animal are present where buyer can observe animals and purchase them

  • LIMITED TO: Dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, gerbil, rat, mouse, gopher, chinchilla, domesticated ferret, domesticated farm-type animals, birds, and exempt cold-blooded species
    • Dogs for hunting, security or breeding
    • Exhibit or sale of wild, exotic or non-pet warm-blooded animals (except birds)
    • Sale of warm-blooded animals for research or exhibition (except bird, rat, mouse)
    • Exhibit of pet animals in separate room from store, outside store or off premises

PERMIT required for dealers and exhibitors of animals along with auction operators.

    • Businesses considered to be de minimis =sales or purchases of animals, dogs, and cats of no more than $500 gross income/year
      • EXCLUDES: wild or exotic animals
    • 4 or less breeding female pet animals, small exotic or wild mammals, and/or domesticated farm animals AND sells only offspring born or raised on premises for pets or exhibition
      • EXCLUDES: household resident that collectively has more than 4 breeding females or person maintaining breeding females on premises with more than 4 breeding females or person acting in concert with others that collectively maintain more than 4 breeding females
    •  Sales of less than 25 dogs/cats a year born and raised on premises for research, teaching or testing or to research facility
      • EXCLUDES: resident in household with collectively more than that or person acting in concert with others that collectively sell more than 25 AND sale of dogs/cats not born on premises for research
    • Arrangements for or transport of animals solely for breeding, exhibiting in purebred shows, boarding, grooming, or medical treatment
    • Purchase, sale, transport and negotiation of such for animals used only for food or fiber
    • 8 or less pet animals, small exotic or wild mammals, and/or domesticated farm animals for exhibition
      • EXCLUDES: person acting in concert with others that collectively maintain more than 8 for exhibition
    • Purchase for own use or enjoyment if not sold or exhibited
    • Retail pet stores

    • Class A Breeder (dealers that only use animal bred and raised on premises or acquired for enhancing breeding colony)
    • Class B Dealer (dealers that purchase and/or resell animals)
      • INCLUDES: broker, auction operator
      • Do not take control of animals or have animal holding facility
      • ALLOWS: exhibiting as minor part of business
    • Class C Exhibitor (show and display of animals to public)
      • ALLOWS: buying and selling to maintain or add to collection as minor part of business

  • Has specific requirements covering items like attending veterinarian and program of veterinary care, records, transport, holding, inspections, handling, contingency planning, caging and care

REGISTRATION required for intermediate handlers and carriers along with exhibitors not required to be licensed above.

  • Must be updated every 3 years
  • Has specific requirements

REGISTRATION required for research facilities.

  • EXCLUDES: federal research facility
  • Has specific requirements covering items like training and instruction for personnel, attending veterinarian and program of veterinary care, records, annual reports, inspections, handling, care, holding, and contingency plans

(7 USC §§ 2131– 2159, 9 CFR Ch. 1, SubCh. A, Parts 1–4)


Big Cat Act (HR 263): Bans possession and breeding of prohibited wildlife species and defines breeding as to facilitate propagation or reproduction (whether intentionally or negligently) or to fail to prevent propagation or reproduction

    • Class C Licensee or federal facility registered with the USDA that exhibits animals which is in good standing that:
      • Is in good standing
      • Does NOT allow individual to come into direct physical contact with prohibited wildlife species unless trained professional employee or contractor of the entity or facility or employee in training, a veterinarian or directly supporting conservation programs if the contact is not commercial activity AND “incidental to humane husbandry conducted pursuant to a species-specific, publicly available, peer-edited population management and care plan” that reflects conservation science principles, “incorporates genetic and demographic analysis of a multi-institution population of animals covered by the plan”, and promotes animal welfare ensuring frequency of breeding is appropriate
      • Ensures publicly exhibited lion, tiger, leopard, snow leopard, jaguar, cougar and hybrids are 15’ from the public or with permanent barriers
    • State college, university, or agency, or state-licensed veterinarian
    • Wildlife sanctuary that cares for such animals that is:
      •  501(c)(3) nonprofit
      • Does NOT commercially trade in prohibited wildlife species including offspring, parts and byproducts
      • Does NOT breed prohibited wildlife species
      • Does NOT allow direct contact between the public and prohibited wildlife species
      • Does NOT allow the transportation and display of prohibited wildlife species off-site
    • Someone who solely expeditiously transports a prohibited wildlife species to an exempted entity

  • GRANDFATHERED: Those who register the animals with the US Fish & Wildlife Service within 180 days AND do not breed, acquire, or sell any new ones AND do not allow public contact

  • LIST: Prohibited Wildlife Species =
    • lion
    • tiger
    • leopard
    • snow leopard
    • clouded leopard
    • cheetah
    • jaguar
    • cougar
    • any hybrid of such

PENALTIES: Removes from current civil and criminal penalties and creates own criminal penalty of up to $20,000 and/or imprisonment up to 5 years with each violation a separate offense and declared to be committed in each district taken to

CWSA: BANS import, export, transport, sale, receipt, acquisition, and purchase in interstate or foreign commerce of prohibited wildlife species.

    • USDA or another federal license holder
    • State college, university or agency; wildlife rehabilitator; veterinarian
    • 501(c)(3) wildlife sanctuary that does NOT commercially trade in or propagate such wildlife or or allow direct public contact with animals
    • Transport to exempt entity

  • LIST:
    • Lion
    • Tiger
    • Leopard
    • Cheetah
    • Jaguar
    • Cougar  
    • Hybrid of above

Lacey Act: BANS import, export, transport, sale, receipt, acquisition, and purchase in interstate or foreign commerce of any fish and wildlife in violation of state or foreign law.

    • Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act plan
    • Tuna Conventions Act of 1950 or Atlantic Tunas Convention Act of 1975
    • Interstate commerce shipment through Indian country

BANS possession of fish and wildlife in US special maritime and territorial jurisdiction in violation of state, foreign or Indian tribal law.

  • EXEMPT: Tuna Conventions Act of 1950 or Atlantic Tunas Convention Act of 1975

(16 USC 3371-3378; 50 CFR § 14.250-14.255)


NOTE: Public Health Service Act or Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act take precedence

BANS import into US and territories and possessions, Puerto Rico, and District of Columbia along with shipment between continental US, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico or US possession of injurious species.

  • PERMIT (Injurious Wildlife Permit) issued for zoological, educational, medical, or scientific purposes

    • federal agencies
      • EXCLUDES: bald and golden eagles and migratory birds and eggs regulated under other laws
    • dead natural-history specimens for museums or scientific collections
      • EXCLUDES: dead migratory birds, game mammals from Mexico, and bald and golden eagles or their eggs regulated under other laws
    • domesticated canaries, parrots (psittacine birds), or other designated cage birds
    • A 2017 court case determined that interstate transport was exempt

LIST (See 50 CFR 16 for official list):

  • Mammals:
    • Flying fox or fruit bat (Pteropus)
    • Mongoose and meerkat (Atilax, Cynictis, Helogale, Herpestes, Ichneumia, Mungos, and Suricata)
    • European rabbit (Oryctolagus)
    • Indian wild dog or red dog
    • Dhole (Cuon)
    • Multimammate rat or mouse (Mastomys)
    • Raccoon dog
    • Brushtail possum

  • Birds:
    • Pink starling or rosy pastor
    • Dioch
    • Java sparrow
    • Red-whiskered bul-bul

  • Fish:
    • Live walking catfish (Clariidae)
    • Snakehead (Channidae) including eggs and those listed
    • Crucian carp (live) and hybrids
    • Prussian carp (live) and hybrids
    • Largescale silver carp (live) and hybrids
    • Silver carp (live) and hybrids
    • Bighead carp (live) and hybrids
    • Black carp (live) and hybrids
    • Eurasian minnow (live) and hybrids
    • Stone moroko (live) and hybrids
    • Roach (live) and hybrids
    • Nile perch (live) and viable eggs and hybrids
    • Amur sleeper (live) and viable eggs and hybrids
    • European perch (live) and viable eggs and hybrids
    • Zander (live) and viable eggs and hybrids
    • Wels catfish (live) and viable eggs and hybrids
    • Live or dead uneviscerated salmonid
      • EXEMPT: direct shipment if certified that lot sampled, virus assays conducted and free of certain disease and disinfected within 24 hours of shipment

  • Mollusks, Crustaceans:
    • Live mitten crab (Eriocheir)
    • Live zebra or quagga mussel (Dreissena) or viable eggs
    • Common yabby (live) and viable eggs and hybrids

  • Amphibians:
    • Salamanders (Chioglossa, Cynops, Euproctus, Hydromantes, Hynobius, Ichthyosaura, Lissotriton, Neurergus, Notophthalmus, Onychodactylus, Paramesotriton, Plethodon, Pleurodeles, Salamandra, Salamandrella, Salamandrina, Siren, Taricha, Triturus, and Tylototriton) including those listed

  • Reptiles:
    • Brown tree snake
    • Indian python
    • Burmese python
    • Reticulated python
    • Northern African python
    • Southern African python
    • Yellow anaconda
    • DeSchauensee's anaconda
    • Green anaconda
    • Beni anaconda


  • Unlisted live wild mammals, live game and nongame birds, reptiles and amphibians for scientific, medical, educational, exhibition, or propagating purposes
    • EXCLUDES: bald and golden eagles, migratory birds, Family Psittacidae governed by other laws
    • Need: written declaration to District Director of Customs at port of entry
    • BANS release except state conservation agency or permit from such

  • Unlisted live game bird eggs for propagating or scientific collection purposes
    • BANS import of nongame eggs except dead natural-history specimens

  • Unlisted live or dead fish, mollusks, crustaceans
    • Need: written declaration to District Director of Customs at port of entry

(18 USC 42; 50 CFR 16)


BANS travel in interstate or foreign commerce or using mail or facility of interstate or foreign commerce to 1) damage or interfere with operations of animal enterprise and intentionally damage or cause loss of real or personal property (includes animals) used by it or real or personal property of person connected to it, 2) intentionally cause person to fear death or serious bodily injury or to a family member or spouse or intimate partner by using threats, acts of vandalism, property damage, criminal trespass, harassment, or intimidation, or 3) conspire to do so. 

  • EXEMPT: expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment

(18 USC 43)


Fox, rabbit, mink, chinchilla, marten, fisher, muskrat, karakul and other fur-bearing animals captive raised for breeding or useful purposes are domestic animals and breeding, raising or marketing them is agricultural pursuit.

(7 USC 399)


BANS take, possession, sale, purchase, trade, barter, transport, export and import of bald and golden eagles.

    • Take, possession and transport by public museum, scientific society, and zoological park for scientific or exhibition purpose, Indian tribes and protection of wildlife, agricultural or other interests
    • Take golden eagles to seasonally protect domesticated flocks and herds in a state upon governor request
    • Golden eagles for falconry
      • Take limited to depredations on livestock or wildlife
    • Take of golden eagle nests interfering with resource development or recovery

    • Eagle Scientific Collecting Permit
    • Eagle Exhibition Permit
    • Eagle Transport - Scientific or Exhibition Permit
    • Eagle Native American Religion Permit
    • Eagle Transport - Native American Religious Purposes Permit
    • Eagle Take Permit - Depredation and Public Health and Safety Permit
    • Eagle Nest Take Permit
    • Golden Eagle Nest Take Permit
    • Eagle Incidental Take Permit
    • Eagle Incidental Take - Transfer of a permit
    • Eagle Take - Exempted under ESA

(16 USC 668-668d; 50 CFR 22)


BANS pursuit, hunt, take, capture, kill, possession, sale, barter, purchase, delivery for shipment, shipment, export, import, delivery for transportation, transport, carrying, receipt for shipment, transportation, carriage, or export of migratory bird, nest, egg, or product.

  • LIMITED TO: those native to US or territories that were defined in the following conventions:
    • US and Great Britain for migratory birds in 1916
    • US and United Mexican States for migratory birds and game mammals in 1936
    • US and Government of Japan for migratory birds and birds in danger of extinction in 1972
    • US and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for migratory birds and environments in 1976

    • breeding migratory game birds on farms and preserves and sale for food supply
    • captive-bred mallards marked by 6 weeks of age with removal of right hind toe, pinioning, seamless metal banding or tattoo
    • other captive-bred migratory waterfowl marked by 6 weeks of age with removal of right hind toe, pinioning, seamless metal banding or tattoo
      • May acquire or dispose of in US from waterfowl sale and disposal permit or import
      • EXCLUDES: Muscovy ducks except those on 3/31/10

  • PERMITS issued:
    • Migratory Bird Taxidermist Permit (taxidermy for others)
    • Migratory Bird Import and Export Permit
    • Migratory Bird Banding or Marking Permit (capture to band or mark)
    • Migratory Bird Scientific Collecting Permit (take, transport or possess for science or education)
    • Migratory Bird Rehabilitation Permit (take, temporarily possess or transport for rehabilitation)
    • Migratory Bird Depredation Permit
    • Migratory Bird Depredation/Homeowner Permit
    • Migratory Bird Special Purpose/Education Permit
    • Migratory Bird Special Purpose/Salvage Permit
    • Migratory Bird Special Purpose/Game Bird Propagation Permit
    • Migratory Bird Special Purpose/Miscellaneous Permit
    • Waterfowl Sale and Disposal Permit (sell, trade, donate, dispose of captive-bred migratory waterfowl except mallard)
    • Special Canada Goose Permit (management and control)
    • Special Double-Crested Cormorant Permit
    • Raptor Propagation Permit

(16 USC 703-712; 50 CFR 10.13, 21)


BANS take of North Pacific fur seals in North Pacific Ocean or on US lands or waters or use of a port or harbor for such take. 

BANS transport, import, offering for sale, and possession of North Pacific fur seals at port, place or vessel within US jurisdiction. 

  • EXEMPT: As allowed for educational, scientific or exhibition purposes AND for take for certain groups of people

(16 USC 1151-1187)


Secretary of Interior has authorization to regulate wild horses and burros.

(16 USC 1331-1340)


BANS take and import of marine mammals and products.

  • PERMIT: Must be reviewed by Marine Mammal Commission and Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals
    • Marine Mammal Public Display Permit
    • Marine Mammal Scientific Research/Enhancement/Registered Agent or Tannery Permit

    • marine mammal taken by 12/21/72 or product of such mammal
    • Alaskan resident Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo
    • self-defense or defense of others
    • good Samaritans
    • incidental take by citizens on foreign fishing vessel outside United States exclusive economic zone
    • national defense
    • bones, teeth or ivory of dead mammal on beach or land within ¼ mile of ocean if registered

  • LIST:
    • Polar bear
    • Sea otter
    • Walrus
    • Dugong
    • West Indian manatee
    • Amazonian manatee
    • West African manatee
    • Marine otter


  • Take of marine mammals on high seas if subject to US jurisdiction or in waters or lands under US jurisdiction and possession of such mammal
  • Transport, purchase, sale, and export if mammal in violation OR for any purpose other than public display, scientific research, or enhancing survival
  • Use of commercial fishery in violation of law to commit a violation listed
  • Import if pregnant, nursing, less than 8 months old, endangered or threatened, taken from depleted species or stock, or taken in inhumane manner
    • PERMIT may be issued for depleted or inhumane take if for protection or welfare of animal
  • Import if taken in violation of this law or taken in another country violating foreign law and products of such mammals or if product is banned at origin location
  • Take whales during commercial whaling in waters of US jurisdiction

(16 USC 1361-1389; 50 CFR 18)


NOTE: Marine Mammal Protection Act takes precedence

BANS import, export, take in US or territorial seas, take on high seas; possession, sale, delivery, carry, transport, shipment in violation of import/export/take ban; delivery, receipt, carry, transport, shipment and sale in interstate or foreign commerce; and violating rules regarding endangered and threatened fish and wildlife. 

  • INCLUDES: threatened species in CITES II
    • captive held endangered wildlife on 12/28/73 or date a new species is published in Federal Register
      • Must demonstrate raptor qualifies
      • Purpose must NOT be contrary to act and must NOT be held for commercial activity
    • Captive held threatened wildlife on or before 9/26/19
    • Take and subsequent import by Indian, Aleut, or Eskimo that is Alaska native or lives in Alaska OR non-native permanent resident of Alaskan native village if for consumption or authentic native articles of handicrafts and clothing
      • Allows sale of edible portions in native towns for consumption in native towns
      • Allows sale of non-edible by-products in interstate commerce if made into native articles of handicrafts and clothing
    • Raptors (Falconiformes or Strigiformes) held on 11/10/78 or progeny that are banded and held under migratory bird permit and identified in annual report
      • EXCLUDES:
        • bald or golden eagle
        • those returned to wild
    • Import of threatened species in CITES Appendix II not from foreign commerce or imported for commercial activity under CITES requirements
      • Personal and household effects need CITES documentation
    • Take in defense of own life or others; agency/Federal land management agency, National Marine Fisheries Service, State conservation agency; cooperative agreement with USFWS; veterinarian or removal from buildings for migratory birds
    • Federal and State law enforcement officers
    • Migratory bird rehabilitation permit for sick, injured, or orphaned
    • Captive-bred scimitar-horned oryx, addax, and dama gazelle
      • Must have purpose as management of wildlife or sport hunting to increase or sustain captive number, captive-bred in US, prevent hybridization, maintain genetic diversity, obtain approval for export or foreign commerce, tattoo or other unique identification (reimport), accurate records, sport hunted trophy from raw or tanned parts taken in sports hunting for personal use 
    • Export and interstate commerce of pre-act endangered species part (sperm whale oil or finished scrimshaw product on 12/28/73) if not violating CITES
    • Antique articles at least 100 years old that are in whole or part endangered or threatened species and enters designated port and was not repaired since 1973
    • Import of fish and wildlife taken from another country if in route through the US to a legal country, given instructions not to ship through US and circumstances were beyond control, CITES met and NOT for commercial activity

  • Permission may be issued to business to 1) import and export fish and wildlife OR 2) import or export African elephant ivory
    • EXEMPT: non-endangered or threatened fish and shellfish imported for consumption OR taken in US waters or high seas for recreation

  • LIST: See 50 CFR 17.11

REGISTRATION with Division of Management Authority for captive-bred endangered or threatened wildlife if following are met: 1) geographic distribution is NOT in US OR is in US but eligible because there is low demand for wild-caught and wild species are effectively protected from take, 2) purpose is to enhance propagation or survival, 3) no interstate or foreign commerce for commercial activity for non-living wildlife, 4) re-imported has band, tattoo, etc. that was reported at export port

    • bar-tailed pheasant
    • Elliot's pheasant
    • Mikado pheasant
    • brown eared pheasant
    • white eared pheasant
    • cheer pheasant
    • Edward's pheasant
    • Swinhoe's pheasant
    • Chinese monal
    • Palawan peacock pheasant
    • Turquoise parrot
    • Scarlet-chested parrot
    • Laysan duck
    • white-winged wood duck
      • Must be to enhance propagation or survival of species, NOT involve interstate or foreign commerce for commercial activity for nonliving wildlife, identified by band, tattoo, etc. reported at export port (reimport), wild-caught is imported for breeding if shown that new bloodlines can only use wild-caught, captive-bred unavailable and wild populations can sustain it (also need import permit), approval for permanent exports, adequate records

PERMIT for scientific purposes or to enhance propagation or survival of endangered species along with incidental take.   

PERMIT for economic hardship created by contracts issued before adding endangered species. 

PERMIT for threatened species issued for scientific or educational or special purposes, enhancement of propagation or survival, economic hardship, zoological exhibition. 

BANS trade in specimens if in violation of CITES.

  • EXEMPT: import into US if not endangered species but is CITES II, take and export complies with CITES, granted permission to import/export, file reports, only use designated report, and not imported for commercial activity

(16 USC 1531-1544; 50 CFR 17)


NOTE: Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 and Endangered Species Act take precedence

BANS import of raw and worked ivory.

    • ivory producing country that is NOT party of CITES nor have effective conservation program
    • intermediary country that does NOT: become party of CITES, follow CITES Ivory Control System, import raw from non-ivory producing country, imports raw or worked from country not part of CITES, import raw or worked from ivory producing country in violation of its laws, substantially increases import from country with moratorium during first 3 months of it, imports from country under moratorium after first 3 months (except if on vessel at time and imported in 6 months)

  • EXEMPTS: sport-hunted elephant trophy taken in ivory producing country with ivory quota


  • import of raw ivory from country that is NOT an ivory producing country
  • export of raw ivory from US
  • import of raw or worked ivory if exported from ivory producing country in violation of those laws or CITES
  • import of worked ivory from country that does NOT certify it being from legal source
    • EXCLUDES: personal effects
  • Import of raw or worked ivory from country with moratorium

(16 USC 4201-4246)


BANS import into US of live or dead exotic bird species, egg or offspring not native to 50 states or District of Columbia that is:

  • Listed in any Appendix of CITES
    • EXEMPT:
      • Approved List of Species
      • Captive-bred in foreign qualifying facility
    • Allows Secretary to ban, and remove from List of Approved Species if listed, if determined trade is detrimental, not sufficient information to prove otherwise, remedial measures by Standing Committee of the Convention not followed, and suspension necessary for conservation of species

  • Not listed in any Appendix of CITES that is listed on prohibited species list
    • EXEMPT: transport of exotic birds through US to foreign country if CITES followed 

  • From a country on the prohibited country list
    • EXEMPT: transport of exotic birds through US to foreign country if CITES followed 

  • From a foreign qualifying facility if NOT captive-bred at facility


  • WCBA Scientific Research
    • Need description of birds, required documentation for either captive-bred or wild-caught, statement of reason and detailed plan or program, qualifications of personnel and how facility meets standards

  • WCBA Zoological Breeding or Display
    • Need description of birds, required documentation for either captive-bred or wild-caught, statement of reason and detailed program, how facility meets standards, history of program

  • WCBA Cooperative Breeding Program (promote conservation and enhance propagation and survival)
    • Must be approved
    • Must be by avicultural, conservation, or zoological organization
    • Need description of birds, required documentation for either captive-bred or wild-caught, statement of reason and detailed participation in program, relationship of bird to program, statement of attempt to obtain captive-bred from US, how facility meets standards, history of program

  • Personal Pet Import Permit (pet owner returning to US after being out of country at least 1 year)
    • LIMIT: 2 pet birds/year
    • Need description of birds, statement of reason, documentation of continually living outside US at least 1 year, number pet birds imported last 12 months, origin of bird,


  • domestic poultry
  • dead sport-hunted birds and museum and scientific specimens
  • products manufactured from domestic poultry or dead birds above
  • Phasianidae, Numididae, Cracidae, Meleagrididae, Megapodiidae, Anatidae, Struthionidae, Rheidae, Dromaiinae, and Gruidae

APPROVED LIST: Found in 50 CFR 15.33

(16 USC 4901-4916; 50 CFR 15)


BANS sale, import and export of product, item or substance for human consumption or application with substance from rhino or tiger. 

(16 USC 5301-5306)


Interstate transport of leopard tortoise, African spurred tortoise and Bell's hingeback tortoise requires health certificate or certificate of veterinary inspection within last 30 days and no ticks.

(7 USC 8305; 9 CFR Part 74)


BANS import into US of:

  • Species banned from listed regions
  • Leopard tortoise, African spurred tortoise and Bell's hingeback tortoise
  • Brushtail possum or hedgehog from New Zealand
  • Hedgehog or tenrec from region where foot-and-mouth disease exists   
  • Birds or hatching eggs from region where highly pathogenic avian influenza or Newcastle disease exists OR vaccinated for H5 or H7 avian influenza subtype
    • EXEMPT: if otherwise allowed

LEGAL WITHOUT PERMIT or other requirements from APHIS is import of pet rodents, rabbits, ferrets, reptiles and amphibians. 

  • MUST follow all CDC or USFWS laws and restrictions

PERMIT (Import or In Transit Permit) required to import listed animals into the United States.

  • Part 93 has special entry requirements for ratites, poultry, and other birds, horses including zebras, ruminants, bovines, sheep and goats (including wild), swine (including wild), hedgehogs, tenrecs, elephants, hippos, rhinos, tapirs and aquatic species
  • Different requirements for first-time entry and re-entry and whether they are from Canada, Mexico or another country

(7 USC Ch. 109; 9 CFR Part § 93)


BANS import of:

  • Live turtles (Testudinata) with carapace of less than 4” and viable eggs
    • EXEMPT:
      • marine species (Dermochelidae and Cheloniidae)
      • Those not for business if less than 7 turtles or eggs combined
    • PERMIT for: 7+ turtles and/or eggs for scientific or educational purposes or exhibition
      • EXCLUDES: eggs of marine species
      • Must isolate turtles to prevent disease
      • Must comply with FDA regulations
      • MAY ALSO NEED: permit for ESA or CITES species

  • Nonhuman primates – Added 1970s
    • BANS import to accept, maintain or sell for pets, hobbies or avocation with occasional display to public
    • REGISTRATION (NHP Importer) allowed for scientific, educational (program at university level or equivalent) or exhibition (public display that meets or exceeds AZA standards) purposes OR import for breeding colonies if all offspring replace breeding animal or for permitted purposes
      • INCLUDES: animal act, zoo-to-zoo and laboratory-to-laboratory transfers
      • Requires import through port of entry with HHS/CDC quarantine station or elsewhere with advance written approval, written policy stating primates will be for permitted purposes, worker protection plan/comply with OSHA/immediately contact CDC of worker exposure to zoonotic disease, caging/equipment/transport/quarantine/health reporting requirements, records and more

  • Rodents native to or obtained from Africa and others prohibited by order that may get monkeypox
    • EXEMPT:
      • those with written request and approval
      • noninfectious products

  • Animals from designated foreign countries

  • Viverridae (civet, binturong, genet) – Added under embargo in 2004 due to SARS
    • EXEMPT:
      • noninfectious products
      • those allowed for educational, exhibition or scientific purposes

  • “Vectors” (animals capable of transferring infectious biological agent to humans)
    • PERMIT for certain purposes with biosecurity measures
      • EXEMPT:
        • Select biological agent under Part 73 if authorized
        • Diagnostic specimen not suspected to contain or no longer containing infectious biological agent with certification
          • EXCLUDES: bats and primates
        • Animal/product for educational, exhibition or scientific purposes not suspected of or no longer containing infectious biological agent
          • EXCLUDES: live bats and bat and primate products
        • Only nucleic acids that cannot produce infectious biological agent with statement
        • Product approved by Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Public Health Service Act Section 351, Virus-Serum-Toxin Act
        • Those authorized under turtle, primate or African rodent laws
      • Permit to Import Live Bats required for bats
        • Must be for scientific, educational or exhibition purpose

NOT REGULATED by CDC are fish and small mammals and non-African rodents not covered above or under an embargo. 

(42 CFR Part 71, Subpart F; Notice of Embargo of Civets)