Texas Tech University Laboratory of Animal Behavior, Physiology and Welfare
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28 hour law of 1873 (amended 1994)
Citation: 49 USC 80502

A copy of this USA law was kindly provided by the USDA National Agriculture Library

Transportation of animals

  1. Confinement
    1. Except as provided in this section, a rail carrier, express carrier, or common carrier (except by air or water), a receiver, trustee, or lessee of one of those carriers, or an owner or master of a vessel transporting animals from a place in a State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession of the United States through or to a place in another State, the District of Columbia, or a territory or possession, may not confine animals in a vehicle or vessel for more than 28 consecutive hours without unloading the animals for feeding, water, and rest.
    2. Sheep may be confined for an additional 8 consecutive hours without being unloaded when the 28-hour period of confinement ends at night. Animals may be confined for
      • more than 28 hours when the animals cannot be unloaded because of accidental or unavoidable causes that could not have been anticipated or avoided when being careful; and
      • 36 consecutive hours when the owner or person having custody of animals being transported requests, in writing and separate from a bill of lading or other rail form, that the 28-hour period be extended to 36 hours.
    3. Time spent in loading and unloading animals is not included as part of a period of confinement under this subsection. Animals being transported shall be unloaded in a humane way into pens equipped for feeding, water, and rest for at least 5 consecutive hours. The owner or person having custody of the animals shall feed and water the animals. When the animals are not fed and watered by the owner or person having custody, the rail carrier, express carrier, or common carrier (except by air or water), the receiver, trustee, or lessee of one of those carriers, or the owner or master of a vessel transporting the animals
  2. Unloading, feeding, watering, and rest Animals being transported shall be unloaded in a humane way into pens equipped for feeding, water, and rest for at least 5 consecutive hours. The owner or person having custody of the animals shall feed and water the animals. When the animals are not fed and watered by the owner or person having custody, the rail carrier, express carrier, or common carrier (except by air or water), the receiver, trustee, or lessee of one of those carriers, or the owner or master of a vessel transporting the animals
    1. shall feed and water the animals at the reasonable expense of the owner or person having custody, except that the owner or shipper may provide food;
    2. has a lien on the animals for providing food, care, and custody that may be collected at the destination in the same way that a transportation charge is collected; and
    3. is not liable for detaining the animals for a reasonable period to comply with subsection (a) of this section.
  3. Nonapplication This section does not apply when animals are transported in a vehicle or vessel in which the animals have food, water, space, and an opportunity for rest.
  4. Civil penalty A rail carrier, express carrier, or common carrier (except by air or water), a receiver, trustee, or lessee of one of those carriers, or an owner or master of a vessel that knowingly and willfully violates this section is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of at least $100 but not more than $500 for each violation. On learning of a violation, the Attorney General shall bring a civil action to collect the penalty in the district court of the United States for the judicial district in which the violation occurred or the defendant resides or does business.