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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Bess Cofield


renee jeanine ragno

There's been a huge outcry that the BLM and Fish and Wildlife be investigated. Instead of protecting the horses, wolves etc. that they are being paid to do they have allowed a horror story of abuse, cruelty, death, murder. Seems like greed, bloodlust have run rampant. What is happening to this country and its people!


I agree with Renee. I went to a local Fish/Wildlife meeting here in Montana on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife. There were several of us who came and the supposed wildlife biologist was rather annoyed. He told us that as a hunter and biologist he wants to preserve wolves, bring up their numbers so they CAN be hunted. I thought this was backwards and have found a lot of backwards thinking up here in Montana. He was a good politician as he gave a compelling speech...talking about what I should really be worried about was land use...preserving land so it doesn't get turned into housing, which did make make friends with ranchers, because ranchers were better than builders, kind of made sense...but when I got home, the more I thought about what he said, there seemed to be a lot of holes in his story and a lot of unnecessary killing in his agenda.


Yes, Fish and Wildlife must be giggling everyday regarding who they can kill on a daily basis!


What's happening to this country & its people? Romans 1:18-32 answers that question. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells what we should do. Of course, if you don't believe in God or His Bible, in morals, values, or principles, you couldn't care less. Move over Communist Party. King Obama & his liberal, extremist, politically-correct Dems are taking your place!!!


Some people are starting to see what is really going on. I believe that the BLM and USDA cater to whomever has the most money. What they do and what they allow to be done is heinous.


Govt would be UP and Running if Obama would give "we the people" what we want. We want the same as what the elites get.....exemption from Obamacare.'s not a good thing when our elected representatives get special breaks and now health care privileges.


Okay can you please help with this? Every day I take the LIRR to work and pass through Jamaica Queens. There is a slaughter house where people go to buy their meat BUT this place is so dirty and one day I saw them stack raw meat in a dirty unaircondiioned van on the dirty floor... Just stacking them up. I know that if they don't care about sanitary concerns then they will not care on how they slaughter these animals - they break every code there is and no one is helping.... PLEASE I beg you help me with this.


Guess the plight of animals really doesn't rate right up there, does it? Not that there aren't many people who have been put behind the eight ball by our sainted politicians.
But yes, at the least our wild horses & burros will get a short break from the endless roundups. REally gripes me that the BLM is allowed to spend millions of OUR dollars harassing the horses & burros - but allows the ranchers that use the grazing allotments to get away with $1.35 per cow/calf unit! Something rotten here....

night magic

there should not be any animals in laboratories !!! this is not why any of them were put on this earth .they should lead a happy life not fearful of their worst enemy humans !!! this includes the horse slaughter and puppy mills .it should all be stopped !!!!