USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is extending the deadline for submitting comments on the proposed rule to amend the Animal Welfare Act’s regulations and standards concerning the humane care, handling, and treatment of marine mammals in captivity. We will now accept comments for an additional 30 days – until May 4, 2016

The Animal Welfare Act sets basic standards for humane care and treatment that must be provided for certain animals used in certain activities – including marine mammals used for public exhibition or biomedical research. The current standards for marine mammals were established in 1998. Our proposed changes are based on recently documented scientific studies, and our goal is to better ensure humane handling and treatment of marine mammals in a way that is practical and enforceable. As we developed this rule, we considered information from professional organizations, exhibitors, hundreds of public comments and published scientific studies – as well as the combined experience of our marine mammal experts. 
The proposed rule can be viewed here. A factsheet in question-and-answer format can be viewed here. You can submit your comments regarding this rule here