More on the Government Shutdown’s Impact on Animals

Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 4:30pm
Capitol Building

As the budget stalemate in Washington led to this week’s government shutdown, a lot of animal advocates have been left wondering exactly how this unusual event is impacting our nation’s animals. Yesterday we told you about the shutdown’s effect on puppy mill inspections, but the federal government has many additional routine animal-protection responsibilities. We’ve done a little digging and outlined how the following animal welfare-related duties are being altered during this shutdown:

Horse Soring
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is charged with enforcing the Horse Protection Act to combat the abusive practice of horse soring. APHIS oversees the inspection of at-risk show horses to ensure that they have not been sored and assesses penalties for violations. Suspension of this program during the shutdown could mean that unscrupulous trainers will take advantage of this lapse in oversight.

Animal Slaughter
The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) upholds the requirements of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act related to the treatment of animals prior to and during slaughter. This has been deemed a necessary function, so FSIS inspectors who monitor food safety and humane treatment in slaughterhouses continue to perform their duties during the shutdown.

Wild Horses
Federal agencies periodically round up and remove large numbers of free-roaming wild equines on public rangelands, a policy that has resulted in tens of thousands of wild horses languishing in holding facilities. Additional gathers are suspended during the shutdown, but caretakers for the horses already confined remain on the job.

Exotic animal exhibitors are regulated by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), and unfortunately, the welfare of these animals will go unchecked for the time being. However, the National Zoo in D.C., managed by the Smithsonian Institution, has retained employees essential to the security and the care of the zoo’s animals.

Animals in Laboratories
The USDA enforces the AWA to ensure minimum standards of care for animals in laboratories. While employees are on the job maintaining the animals, there is no USDA watchdog ensuring that minimum standards of care are being met.

Hunting and Trapping
All National Wildlife Refuges are currently closed to the public, meaning hunting and trapping on these lands is prohibited for the duration of the shutdown. Federal law enforcement activities will continue on public lands to preserve resources and protect against illegal hunting.

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Some good news for wild horses and burros due to the suspension of the brutal roundups but not so good news for circus and other performing animals!


The Republicans already okayed spending minus Obamacare, so Harry Reid and Obama can release the money and stop the finger pointing.


Oh Whoopee, good for the GOP's Bless their non-existant hearts. WOW


Seriously, the last bill the Republican House sent to the Democrat Congress covered ALL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS, except Obamacare which had a one-year delay. Obama and the members of Congress rejected it and announced today that they REFUSE TO NEGOTIATE AT ALL, because they're "winning." Yep. Our lives, prosperity, safety, etc. is all a game to them. They're jobs are not to represent American citizens. Their jobs are to remain in office. Every American should stop affiliating with either party and know the facts. We are ALL getting taken for a ride.


Suzannea, you do not know what the truth is otherwise you would not be parroting fox entertainers.
The Affordable Care Act is A LAW. There is NO ifs, and or buts about it. It is done, over, finished, complete and a dang done deal. There is NO negotiations to be had on it.
The teagroups are using the less informed Americans to propagate insanity and it is working as I see you doing their bidding.
President Obama does NOT HAVE TO NEGOTIATE A DAMN THING. Understand? It is the teabags that are causing all of this misery and now more moderate republicans are starting to circle wagons around Pelosi to vote to pass a clean CR.
Up and until this is done boehner and the cruzbags will destroy anything they can. That is treason and terroristic behavior. Maybe you should contact your teabag rep and tell them to act like adults and stop whining like 3 year olds.


Risa, You are the one that does not know what the truth is. You are one of the lowest un-informed. Please educate yourself.
Suzannea your are so right on.

jayhawk voice

Risa is right. The President already negotiated getting this bill in place. This is not the time for changing law. The Republicans run by extremists are absolutely wrong in what they are doing.

Wendy Waller

Yeah, a law illegally steamrolled through!


Wait till you see how much Oblamacare is going to cost you, and everyone else with greatly increased premiums. I already know because my husband and I calculated it out. We'll be lucky if we have money left to feed ourselves, let alone our companion animals!!

Irmgard Martino

Thank you for speaking up. Too many people do not pay attention to facts. Obamacare sounds great because lots of people ache for cheaper and affordable rate, but they will be disappointed. Lost coverage with two insurances on account of the high demand on them by the government. It has to be stopped and a fair plan put in place. If it means a government shut down, so be it. Please get a list of all places which are still open and which are not. You will find it is not fair and those in DC know which ones will result in a public outcry and are chosen. Instead of giving prizes to kill shelter maybe the ASPC could more actively fight puppy mills, cruelty to animals etc and help the animals.