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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The Whole problem is that Tea Party Republicans, The Koch brother, Jim DeMint and want to be elected tea party want that top of the line healthcare Congress has received for eons but the average citizen and even some very wealthy individuals can't get , especially for free - you do realize they do not pay a dime for. As of October 1st all of Congress must pay for the health insurance; and they must pay out of their pocket vs the American pocketbook.


Soooo missing the point. There would be NO shut down if not for Repubs and their demand to control.


I agree totally! Obama is hurting animals just to make the point that he can. He is a dictator


Obama even ate dogs in the past. He is ruthless to animals


What an idiotic statement. The president was fed a meal that contained dog meat when he was a small child. Get over that. The fact is that Republicans held our country hostage, demanding to change law in order to keep the government functioning. That is not how it's done. Remember "I'm just a bill on Capital Hill?" No, I don't think you do. Or else you wouldn't be blaming the president for what the republicans did in this case. Laws are made and repealed through very different processes.


Everyone stop trying to blame one side. It is the fact that neither side is willing to compromise that we keep finding ourselves in these messes. I'm sorry but I've never seen a president who gets as childish as this one does if everything isn't his way.

The Republicans are taking most of the heat for it but the fact is if both sides don't start compromising this country is just going to start spiralling out of control. This empire is in a sure and steady decline.

This free-for all piggybank is drying up and I for one have paid my entire life into programs that I'll be lucky if they still exist in 10 years when I retire. But thank goodness I've been able to watch my hard earned tax dollars (which I think I'm one of the handful of people who actually work a regular job and pay the taxes I'm supposed to pay) support a few people who actually deserve and need it and whole bunch of freeloading, lazy leeches.


Obama is the hold up in all of this....he wants his precious Obamacare to go through, even though most Americans do not want it.


OMG! It is LAW there is no repealing the healthcare law that went into effect 14 days ago! Get a clue! Our economic future along with the world is at stake. Not if but when we default on our debt again (we were triple A+ and now double A+) means lots of other economies will crash and the dollar will be as worthless as the confederate dollar. Then who will able to SAVE THE ANIMALS....Ted Cruz? I think not...he believes in killing animals and children with military grade assault weapons and ammo.


make a law change a law as easy as pie not one republican voted for it.they bribed every dem in the senate to get it passed,more doubledealing went on you must not watch tv even cnn admitted no republicans voted for it so it was a rip off.Get a repub in law gone just like that.they cancel laws everyday.and when they do you will kneeel and kiss their hands.

maryann laukaitis

Some one needs to help these animals now not later.please dear GOD don't let this government crap neglect these animals.