Sunday, June 29, 2008

USDA proposal, July 8 deadline for action! PLEASE ACT TODAY!

This is a message from the ferret health list yahoo groups, any ferret owner needs to act upon this, it is very important. This means Marshall farm ferrets would not be going to any pet store (Petsmart, Petco) selling ferrets that are too young to be taken from it's mother, and will be weaned.

A few years ago we worked hard to convince the USDA to create ferret-specific regulations governing their transport and care. The inside word we have gotten is that the ferret industry is too small to warrant the creation of such rules.

However, they have created a generic proposal that will set an 8-week and weaned requirement for the transport of any warm-blooded animal.

The deadline for comment is JULY 8, 2008! WE MUST ACT NOW!!

Below is a brief description of the proposal and how to submit your comments. A sample letter is also attached. Feel free to use it, modify it or write your own.

The main point is that we agree that an 8-week minimum age for transport is beneficial to ferrets, both domestic and black-footed.

Please feel free to cross-post.

Linda Iroff
International Ferret Congress

The American Council for Ferret Health, Welfare and Policy, Washington, DC


AGENCY: Federal – USDA – Animal & Plant Health Inspection Agency

REFERENCE: [Docket No. APHIS-2006-0024] RIN 0579-AC14
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 9 CFR Part 2 Proposed Rule
“Minimum Age Requirements for the Transport of Animals”

NOTICE: USDA has posted a Period for Public Comment on these regulations.

IMPACT: Regulations for FERRETS would match those currently in place for DOGS and CATS, FERRETS would be required to be weaned and at least 8 weeks of age prior to removal from their mothers and transport to a Retail facility, exhibit, etc. For young animals used in research, the research must be reviewed and approved by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) along with provisions specified as to care of animals during transport, if the animals do not meet the minimum age requirements of 8 weeks.

WHY YOU SHOULD RESPOND: New regulations, while not specific to FERRETS, would impose new requirements where no prior requirements have existed for FERRETS.

SUMMARY: US Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposes to amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations by adding minimum age requirements of 8 weeks for the transport in commerce of animals. Current regulations require dogs and cats to be weaned and a minimum of 8 weeks of age before they can be transported from the breeder location to a retail store or other venue. No regulations currently exist for FERRETS or other warm-blooded species. The Proposed Regulations would allow, provided certain conditions are met, for animals to be transported without their mothers for medical treatment and for scientific research before reaching the minimum age and weaning requirement. Setting MINIMUM AGE REQUIREMENTS of 8 weeks for the transport in commerce of animals and providing for the transport of animals that have not met the minimum age requirements are necessary to help ensure the humane treatment of these animals.

INSTRUCTIONS: Submit your comments online or by mail: [SEE SAMPLE FORM LETTER]

1) ONLINE: Federal “eRulemaking” Portal: Go to\

Click on "APHIS-2006-0024-0001" to view the proposal, and on the icon in that row in the Comments column to add your own comment.

You may also view the comments submitted by others there.


USDA – APHIS: Docket No. APHIS-2006-0024
Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS
Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Dr. Barbara Kohn, Senior Staff Veterinarian, Animal Care, APHIS, 4700
River Road Unit 84, Riverdale, MD 20737-
1231; (301) 734-7833.

Sample letter:

[July -- , 2008]
RE: 9 CFR Part 2 [Docket No. APHIS-2006-0024] RIN 0579-AC14
PR: “Minimum Age Requirements for the Transport of Animals”

United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Regulatory Analysis and Development
PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

To Whom It May Concern:
We are writing in support of the above referenced PROPOSED RULE (PR) to amend the Animal Welfare Act regulations by adding minimum age requirements for the transport in commerce of animals. We are aware that the current regulations address age limits for dogs and cats, but that no corresponding regulations exist for ferrets.

We agree and strongly support your proposal to amend the current regulations to restrict the transport of ferrets that are less than 8 weeks of age, unless certain conditions have been met, as outlined in the PR.

For both the domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo) and the wild black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes), establishing federal minimum age requirements for the transport in commerce of ferrets, and providing for the transport of animals that have not met the minimum age of 8 weeks of age, are necessary to help ensure the humane treatment of these animals.



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Black footed ferret baby

If you haven't seen this, you need to check this out:

Black Footed Ferret mom with baby on cam at the National Zoo,

Black footed ferret baby

Sunday, June 22, 2008


This must have been really bad, as the advisory to wash your hands and anything from PETCO, how could have anybody worked in those conditions. I wonder if any of the employees got sick from this?

The Petco distribution center that the FDA seized animal products is in Illinois and serves 16 states:

Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin

FDA Requests Seizure of Animal Food Products at PETCO Distribution Center

Today, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Marshals seized various animal food products stored under unsanitary conditions at the PETCO Animal Supplies Distribution Center located in Joliet, Ill., pursuant to a warrant issued by the United States District Court in Chicago.

U.S. Marshals seized all FDA-regulated animal food susceptible to rodent and pest contamination. The seized products violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because it was alleged in a case filed by the United States Attorney that they were being held under unsanitary conditions. (The Act uses the term "insanitary" to describe such conditions).

During an FDA inspection of a PETCO distribution center in April, widespread and active rodent and bird infestation was found. The FDA inspected the facility again in May and found continuing and widespread infestation.

As a precaution, consumers who have handled products originating from the PETCO distribution center should thoroughly wash their hands with hot water and soap. Any surfaces that came in contact with the packages should be washed as well. Consumers are further advised as a precaution to thoroughly wash products sold in cans and glass containers from PETCO in the 16 affected states.

If a pet has become ill after eating these food products, pet owners should contact their veterinarian and report illnesses to FDA state consumer complaint coordinators.

FDA: Protecting Our Pets

Andy’s Take (Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

This week, at FDA’s request, United States Marshals seized tons of animal food products at a major pet food distribution warehouse because they were being stored under unsanitary conditions. While you know that the mission of the FDA is to protect and promote the health of you and your family, you may not have realized that our mission also includes safeguarding the health of your pets. In fact, both FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine as well as our Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition regulate the food and feed we give our pets and livestock, and the Center for Veterinary Medicine also regulates medicines for animals.

My take on this is that FDA remains committed to doing what is required to protect and promote the health of you and your family – including your family pet. The FDA will not allow a company to engage in practices of unsafe or unsanitary production or processing of food or feed that endanger the life of any person or any animal.

During an inspection FDA inspectors found that the pet food facility was heavily infested with various pests, such as rats, mice, and birds. The company was told to fix the problem, and when it was determined that the company had not made the necessary corrections, we had those products seized to prevent them from reaching your pet. I would like to reassure you that the pet food that is currently in retail stores is not involved in this problem and can be purchased and used with confidence.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Disaster Preparedness for your Ferret

Last year, we had a close call on a tornado, it was reported about 2 blocks over from my house, I immediately had my pet carrier out, food and water for the ferrets. Luckily we weren't hit, but it was scary. Our living room has 2 skylights, and 7 huge windows. One day this year, the city sirens were going off, and it was clear outside. I asked the neighbors what was happening, they said a storm was approaching. Here in Texas , a storm can come in quickly without warning. Several years ago, I was caught on the highway, my car about 6 months old, in a storm. Softball size (huge) hail came, and pounded my car, and that was really scary. It kept hitting on the windshield (and everywhere else), but it didn't break though. All I could do was stop right on the highway, there was nowhere to go, not even a bridge close by, it was useless to keep driving. I had over almost $6,000.00 dollars damage.

Here's some useful information I found about preparing for disasters.

Disaster Preparedness for your Ferret

An Evacuation Kit for Your Ferret

Making A First Aid Kit For Your Ferret

Definition: Ferret

I found an interesting definition of Ferret

Definition: mustela or putorius furo

Source: WordNet (r) 1.7

n 1: ferret of prairie regions of United States; nearly extinct [syn: black-footed ferret, Mustela nigripes]
2: domesticated albino variety of the European polecat bred for hunting rats and rabbits
v 1: hound or harry relentlessly
2: hunt with ferrets
3: search and discover through persistent investigation; "She ferreted out the truth" [syn: ferret out]

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Ferret \Fer"ret\, n. [Ital. foretto, dim. of fiore flower; or F. fleuret. Cf. Floret.]
A kind of narrow tape, usually made of woolen; sometimes of cotton or silk; -- called also ferreting.

Ferret \Fer"ret\, n. [F. feret, dim. or fer iron, L. ferrum.]
(Glass Making)
The iron used for trying the melted glass to see if is fit to work, and for shaping the rings at the mouths of bottles.

Ferret \Fer"ret\, n. [F. furet, cf. LL. furo; prob. fr. L. fur thief (cf. Furtive); cf. Arm. fur wise, sly.] (Zo["o]l.)
An animal of the Weasel family (Mustela or Putorius furo), about fourteen inches in length, of a pale yellow or white color, with red eyes. It is a native of Africa, but has been domesticated in Europe. Ferrets are used to drive rabbits and rats out of their holes.

Ferret \Fer"ret\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ferreted; p. pr. & vb. n. Ferreting.] [Cf. F. fureter. See Ferret, n.]
To drive or hunt out of a lurking place, as a ferret does the cony; to search out by patient and sagacious efforts; -- often used with out; as, to ferret out a secret.

Master Fer! I'll fer him, and firk him, and ferret him.

Source: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

Lev. 11:30 (R.V., "gecko"), one of the unclean creeping things. It was perhaps the Lacerta gecko which was intended by the Hebrew word (anakah, a cry, "mourning," the creature which groans) here used, i.e., the "fan-footed" lizard, the gecko which makes a mournful wail. The LXX. translate it by a word meaning "shrew-mouse," of which there are three species in Palestine. The Rabbinical writers regard it as the hedgehog. The translation of the Revised Version is to be preferred.

Definition: European ferret

Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Polecat \Pole"cat`\, n. [Probably fr. F. poule hen, and originally, a poultry cat, because it feeds on poultry. See Poultry.] (Zo["o]l.)
(a) A small European carnivore of the Weasel family (Putorius f[oe]tidus). Its scent glands secrete a substance of an exceedingly disagreeable odor. Called also fitchet, foulmart, and European ferret.
(b) The zorilla. The name is also applied to other allied species.

Foumart \Fou"mart`\, n. [OE. folmard, fulmard; AS. f?l foul + mear?, meard, marten: cf. F. marte, martre. See Foul, a., and Marten the quadruped.] (Zo["o]l.)
The European polecat; -- called also European ferret, and fitchew. See Polecat. [Written also foulmart, foulimart, and fulimart.]

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ferrets as Animal Models

I found this abstract while searching for ferret information, about using ferrets in experiments for diseases, because they are cheap, they have large litters and are easy to handle, just angers me to know how ferrets are being used this way. I've read a lot about animal experimentation, and how supposedly they can use other alternatives with computers, cells, etc., but one thing it comes down to is : money - there's a lot of people that make money from this business - one that comes to mind especially is Marshall farms. I've read that Marshall's original intent was selling ferrets from animal experimentation before they started selling ferrets for pets. And since this is government papers as I understand should be public domain. Here's part of the abstract

The six areas of biomedical research that most commonly use ferrets (cystic fibrosis, influenza and other respiratory diseases, lung cancer, reproductive and fetal biology, neuroscience, and specific forms of cancer) are collectively responsible for over 12 billion dollars of funding from the National Institutes of Health alone for 2006. This total represents about 44% of the NIH annual grant monies. Additionally, ferrets have the potential of becoming an important system for drug and vaccine development, including validation and toxicity studies. The lack of genomic sequence hampers the interpretation of the results from existing research programs as well as the development of novel programs that rely on this kind of information. Combined sequencing of ferret genomic DNA and ESTs will allow for the development of additional resources for genomic and proteomic research and provide the genetic information necessary to improve the interpretation of results and quality of reagents for future research efforts within this model. There is strong support from the research community for this proposal, as evidenced by the accompanying 53 letters of endorsement from leading investigators in both academic and industrial institutions. These emphasize that ongoing research with ferret biomedical models is significantly limited by the lack of sequence data and derived molecular tools. In particular, ferret sequence data is urgently needed for models of infectious respiratory diseases with
pandemic potential, e.g. avian influenza and SARS corona virus. National interest in these models is evidenced by recent Congressional funding for pandemic flu preparedness (June 2006) and the Biodefense Advanced Research and Development Authority (Dec. 2006). ).

I. Introduction

Ferrets have a long history as animal model subjects. In 1933, influenza-induced rhinitis was
first observed in ferrets. Because this model mimics the shedding of viruses from respiratory tissue in a fashion similar to humans, their importance as an animal model was immediately apparent. Ferrets belong to the Order Carnivora, which includes dogs, wolves, cats, bears, weasels and otters. At the family node, ferrets diverge from the Canidae to form the Family Mustelidae. Most closely related to the European polecat, the domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo) deviated from the polecat at least 2,500 years ago. Sharing the Genus Mustela with ferrets are the ermine (Mustela erminea), mink (Mustela vison) and several weasel species. Of the two ferret species, the sequencing project would exclusively encompass the domestic ferret; the black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripei) is endangered.

In addition, the ferret model has the potential for generating inbred lines and knockout models.
Compared to the macaque species, the ferret has a much higher rate of fecundity. Macaques give birth to one infant generally once a year under proper conditions and have a gestation period averaging 165 days. The ferret can reproduce up to three times annually with an average of 15 kits produced per year. This lends itself to creating different lines of ferrets that may have defined phenotypic characteristics or the development of knock-out animals. In fact, several laboratories are in the process of developing ferret colonies for their research, and knockouts have already been generated in this model (unpublished data). Obviously, these resources can not be developed at the same rate in ferrets as in the rodent animal models, but resources could be developed substantially faster than in macaques. Additionally, macaques are also almost exclusively out-bred, but the reproductive system of the ferret can also be used to generate in-bred lines of animals. Ferrets are also used effectively in embryo transfer and cloning procedures, allowing further possibility in the production of manipulated animals as a model.

All these diseases, cancers, etc is a result of our government. Health care is a joke, the big Pharma's (Rockefeller's) fund the Medical Universities to push chemicals on people, the doctors are brainwashed to subscribe medication, instead of curing the problem. The answer is in nutritional care, but they can't patent vitamins and herbs, there is so much junk in our food and so much of it is Genetically Modified. The FDA does a very poor job of protecting the consumer, too many people in legislation also have interest in the pharmaceutical companies. Our country is way down the line in Health care. Medical care for cancer is multi-billion dollar industry, of course they are not going to find cures, why should they, a lot of rich people would go broke.

Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR)

Preparing Ferrets as Research Subjects in the Laboratory

Marshall Farm Groups

Marshall BioResouces

How about Ferrets Smoking?

Xiang-Dong Wang, M.D., Ph.D., is putting his faith in the ferret. He and colleagues at the Human Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston are using this domesticated version of the European polecat to try to understand why human intervention studies have shown -carotene supplements enhance lung carcinogenesis in smokers. Unlike most laboratory animals, ferrets absorb and metabolize -carotene like humans. They can also inhale levels of tobacco smoke to produce precancerous lesions in the lungs, just like human smokers. His study of high doses of -carotene, published 2 years ago in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, revealed a possible mechanism for the harmful effect seen in the human trials. A second study, published in Carcinogenesis in December, tested low doses, like those obtained from five to nine daily servings of fruits and vegetables. It showed a minor protective effect, Wang said. "Based on our animal study with the ferret, we ferreted out that 6 mg per day of -carotene is safe, and 30 mg per day is harmful," Wang deadpanned. Wang said he could have used a different animal for his study. Monkeys absorb -carotene like humans, but they cost $1000 per animal. The calf was a possibility, but too large to study in his lab. The Mongolian gerbil was an option, but it could not be used for the smoking part of the study. So he’s happy to use ferrets, which cost $75 each. "Ferrets are fearless subjects and gentle. They like to engage in social interactions while we play with them."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Black Footed Ferrets

I love Black-footed ferrets, I think they are so cute.