(a) All persons subject to the Animal Welfare Act who maintain or otherwise handle marine mammals in captivity must comply with the provisions of this subpart, except that they may apply for and be granted a variance, by the Deputy Administrator, from one or more specified provisions of § 3.104. The provisions of this subpart shall not apply, however, in emergency circumstances where compliance with one or more requirements would not serve the best interest of the marine mammals concerned.
(b) An application for a variance must be made to the Deputy Administrator in writing. The request must include:
(1) The species and number of animals involved,
(2) A statement from the attending veterinarian concerning the age and health status of the animals involved, and concerning whether the granting of a variance would be detrimental to the marine mammals involved,
(3) Each provision of the regulations that is not met,
(4) The time period requested for a variance,
(5) The specific reasons why a variance is requested, and
(6) The estimated cost of coming into compliance, if construction is involved.
(c) After receipt of an application for a variance, the Deputy Administrator may require the submission in writing of a report by two experts recommended by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums and approved by the Deputy Administrator concerning potential adverse impacts on the animals involved or on other matters relating to the effects of the requested variance on the health and well-being of such marine mammals. Such a report will be required only in those cases when the Deputy Administrator determines that such expertise is necessary to determine whether the granting of a variance would cause a situation detrimental to the health and well-being of the marine mammals involved. The cost of such report is to be paid by the applicant.
(d) Variances granted for facilities because of ill or infirm marine mammals that cannot be moved without placing their well-being in jeopardy, or for facilities within 0.3048 meters (1 foot) of compliance with any space requirement may be granted for up to the life of the marine mammals involved. Otherwise, variances shall be granted for a period not exceeding July 30, 1986, Provided, however, That under circumstances deemed justified by the Deputy Administrator, a maximum extension of 1 year may be granted to attain full compliance. A written request for the extension must be received by the Deputy Administrator by May 30, 1986. Consideration for extension by the Deputy Administrator will be limited to unforeseen or unusual situations such as when necessary public funds cannot be allocated in an appropriate time frame for a facility to attain full compliance by July 30, 1986.
(e) The Deputy Administrator shall deny any application for a variance if he determines that it is not justified under the circumstances or that allowing it will be detrimental to the health and well-being of the marine mammals involved.
(f) Any facility housing marine mammals that does not meet all of the space requirements as of July 30, 1984, must meet all of the requirements by September 28, 1984, or may operate without meeting such requirements until action is taken on an application for a variance if the application is submitted to the Deputy Administrator on or before September 28, 1984.
(g) A research facility may be granted a variance from specified requirements of this subpart when such variance is necessary for research purposes and is fully explained in the experimental design. Any time limitation stated in this section shall not be applicable in such case.