The AWA somewhat obscurely defines an exhibitor as any person (public or private) exhibiting any animals, which were purchased in commerce or the intended distribution of which affects commerce, or will affect commerce, to the public for compensation, as determined by the Secretary. 7 U.S.C. § 2132(h)
But in its administrative agency decisions, the Secretary of Agriculture has interpreted distribution more liberally and applied it to intrastate, fixed-site exhibitions. Lloyd A. Good, Jr., 49 Agric. Dec. 156, 174 (1990) (holding that a stationary dolphin exhibition was subject to the AWA). In Good, the Secretary reasoned that the word distribution relates only to the manner in which the
animals are displayed to the public, and thus, an exhibitor becomes subject to the AWA if he distributes animals by television or simply by making them available to the public. Id. (emphasis added). The Secretary supported this interpretation by reasoning that the word distribution can mean an array of objects or events in space or time or any spatial or temporal array of objects or events. Id. at 173 (citing WEBSTERS II NEW RIVERSIDE UNIVERSITY DICTIONARY 391 (1984) and THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE 38485 (New College Edition, 1976), respectively). Therefore, a repeated and regular exhibition fits the cited dictionary definitions of distribution. Id. at 17374.
You may see cats in boxes, but I see a significant impact on interstate commerce.
DR. CHESTER A. GIPSON