5 Animals Impacted by the Government Shutdown

The government shutdown may be a nightmare for many American citizens, but humans aren’t the only ones to suffer the consequences. It turns out animals are also suffering due to staff and budgetary cuts. Here are five cute creatures who will feel the impact of the furloughs:

1. Dogs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has the responsibility of verifying that animals are being kept safe in various capacities; one major USDA task is to keep an eye on the unconscionable puppy mill industry. Unfortunately, the inspectors of these facilities have been deemed “non-essential” and rule enforcement will not be carried out during a government shutdown.

Because this (hopefully temporary) department elimination is public knowledge, many dogs are at risk for abuse. Not only will as yet unchecked puppy breeding facilities be able to continue running their illegal businesses without fear of repercussion, but the Humane Society also worries that other breeders will begin to cut corners when it comes to caring for their pooches knowing that no one is on the lookout.

2. Goats

In New Jersey, even the goats are getting furloughed. USA Today details the unusual story of a herd of goats that was brought to the Gateway National Recreation Area this summer to tackle a massive poison ivy problem. Though a massive spread of the toxic plant was enough to keep humans at bay, it turns out that goats consider poison ivy a delicacy.

While the poison ivy has all but disappeared from the grounds thanks to the goats, the hungry helpers are also being removed from the park due to its closure. In the meantime, the goats will take up residence at a farm.

3. Pandas

One of the more publicized aspects of the government shutdown is the end of many an animal lover’s favorite live web cam of the pandas at Washington DC’s National Zoo. Though internet-surfers can generally check in for a cute diversion, for now, the camera has been turned off to cut expenses.

The dark screen has made some panic that the pandas are going hungry during the shutdown, but rest assured, all at the National Zoo animals are being fed and cared for even if we can’t watch it happen live anymore.

4. Horses

Soring – the practice of torturing/injuring a horse into taking exaggerated steps to look more pretty in competitions – is a growing problem in this country. Previously, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has the authority to monitor show horses and punish trainers that sore, but the program has been discontinued during the shutdown. ASPCA believes that some trainers might start resorting to pain-based tactics to change their horses’ gaits during this period without oversight.

5. Whales

Just a few hundred North Atlantic right whales remain alive at this point, and their existence is continually threatened by accidental fatal collisions with large boats. Normally, right whales receive protection from the National Marine Fisheries Service via its Dynamic Management Area program, which monitors ship speed in the right whale’s territory in order to prevent accidents, but this program will not be enforced during the shutdown.

Whales of all species face danger in cases of entanglement. While federal agents would usually respond to whales caught in nets promptly, now such incidents will be considered on a case-by-case basis of how life-threatening the entanglement is.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

very sad news but thanks for sharing

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright4 years ago

The animals are ALWAYS the first in line to be harmed, maimed or killed no matter the circumstances. The animals ALWAYS seem to pay for OUR sins.

Melania Padilla
Melania P4 years ago

Poor animals....

Elke Hoppenbrouwers

Althouogh I am against testing drugs, cosmetics and all kinds of other stuff on animals, many Universities and labs have to kill the animals that were involved in tests before those tests have been finished. All the previous work of those scientists is lost due to the shutdown.

Karen Chestney
Karen Chestney4 years ago

Thank-you for this article. We tend to be so wound up in our daily lives----we don't stop to think. The "SHUTDOWN" is affecting everyone in one way or another----and ---yes animals too----a lot more than your group of 5. Hope "Shutdown" is OVER soon !!!!!!

lesley turnbull
lesley turnbull4 years ago

How did our once great country ever get so screwed up?

Fi T.
Past Member 4 years ago

Can they be helped instead?

Linda Jarsky
Linda Jarsky4 years ago

Martin Luther King said Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

Kitiara Fey
Kitiara Richards4 years ago