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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jayhawk voice

It shouldn't be "stopped" this way. The democratic constitutional way that our country operates is through procedure, not blackmail!

jayhawk voice

It shouldn't be "stopped" this way. The democratic constitutional way that our country operates is through procedure, not blackmail!


For those of you who don't know this we are not a democracy..we are a republic!


Speak for your self. Idiot- Not For Me Or Others. I am sick And Tired of the Republicans Using The American People for their Amends. But Let me tell You all You will "NEVER" See a Republican President In" The White House Ever Again". Tea Party Extremist And Freaks, You all should Be Brought On Charges Of Treason and All should Be Dismissed, If Any Of You Have Any Shame, You Would All Resign. SHAME ON YOU ALL!! For What you Have Put This Country And The American People Through. Republicans- From Here On With This Shutdown You All Planned You Are All Out Numbered For Good Now. You Have Embarrassed, Let Your Party Down, And Also The People Of This Country. You All Should Remember that In 2016. When no one has Voted for you Again And They Vote For The Opposite Party, Not For You. We All like many others will Be Laughing OAO.


Grow up! Your snide comment doesn't alter the facts so take your immaturity where it will be appreciated and leave the mature discussions and commentary to the adults who can converse without needlessly disrespectful derision!

GOP w/a Heart

not all GOP's are heartless..I for one happen to be an advocate for animal, children, and ecosystem welfare. However, the shut down is necessary when a bunch of ID 10 T's on both sides do not KNOW how to budget the American checkbook. What good is it to pass OBMscare Ins, and not have the funds for other important issues like animal and child-welfare? What the GOP is trying to do (and some Dems are supporting them) is figure out how to replace all the FUNDS (aka as monies) that were "dished" out to companies that required Governmental hand outs and have yet to fully pay back, while spending further funds (aka monies) for their own projects. Understand also, that it is NOT just the GOP holding up Congress is also all the other GOVERNMENT Officials who have spent money from the US Treasury and have not turned in their receipts. This should be a GOOD Lesson for all Americans... Do Not hold all your eggs in one basket! If someone comes along and over turns it, you'll have NOTHING left to show for your efforts. In other words, it's about TIME Americans started taking back their Government, supporting the shutdown, and find more CREATIVE Money ventures for supporting all the things we want to support w/o our Governments help, because frankly, They all are incompetent! Yes, I know several hundred animals are suffering more b/c of the shut-down, so why not get off the high-horse and find other ways to help besides moaning and groaning about the ID 10 T's in D.C. are / not doing to help


Excuse me..the conservative constitutionlists want to's the dems and the prez that don't want to talk..they want the power honey..wake up..

renee jeanine ragno

Someone who is aware of the true fact, its good to see. I've been following this closely and am amazed at how many don't know what's going on. Outraged over what they done to the public/outdoor memorials....actually putting up physical barricades to stop visiting vets, etc. Either way......when it comes to true endangerment of lives, that should never be interruptted.

jayhawk voice

We don't want it MINUS Obamacare. The bill itself is a compromise.


Thank you, Jayhawk Voice! I wanted single payer. A public option (2nd choice) was offered and the president had to bargain that down to what is in the PPACA. It was the republicans who demanded the individual mandate. Now they say it will kill us *rolling eyes*. Notice our representatives in Washington love their government health care? They just don't want us to have it.