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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Leave it up to the Democrats and a few Republicans to make the voiceless be the victims. Republicans already passed legislation to pay all govt.bills but defund Obamacare. Obama is simply trying to hurt groups of people (and now animals) and scare all of us into being part of his trainwreck- except for himself, Congress, and other exempt groups who supported him. He has egg on his face, along with Reid and they can't figure out how to wipe it off. They need to shut down factory farming, horse slaughter, gestation crates, animal experimentation- then we would have more money to help the animals in zoos, rodeos, circuses, Sea World, etc. where the abuse goes on until there are deaths. It is within the power of Congress to do this-pay the bills and nulify the Obama restrictions and it's been done before. The "king" is standing in deep #$@&.


Hutzie, I cannot fathom that so many are not aware that legislation was passed to pay all govt. bills, but defund Obamacare. Those who are for it do not realize that it will not be cheap for the individual needing insurance if they are working and they have to sign up in order not to fined. Lost two insurances because demands by the govt.on my providers were too expensive to meet. I am familiar with the system in Germany where everybody is insured. The law under which it operates is fair and could be used as an example since it covers for profit and non profit insurances.

Mr. Ed

The G0P representatives previously promised to shut down our government. Now many here want to place blame somewhere else. You refused to take ownership of the Great Recession and now you refuse to take ownership of the government shutdown. Obama is just your trash man? Clean-up after yourselves for a change.


Can't we volunteer for these jobs? If they can't be on the job, we CAN!!!


What any of this has to do with protecting animals. Obamacare is law and has been upheld by the Supreme Court by Justice Roberts (republican appointee). Government shutdown which not only affects people but animals is the point. Ted Cruz is leading you down a propaganda path of lies while democrats allow them to self destruct. All parties are wrong! Quit being part of the problem and let the animal lovers of this nation help the ones that did not elect these idiots.