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Animal Welfare

USDA Animal Care is responsible for upholding and enforcing the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act. The Animal Welfare Act and its associated regulations require that federally established standards of care and treatment be provided for certain warm-blooded animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially or exhibited to the public. The Horse Protection Act and its associated regulations seek to put an end to soring (a procedure in which horses are subjected to chemical and/or mechanical irritants in order to enhance their gate) by preventing sored horses from participating in exhibitions/shows/sales/auctions. The Center for Animal Welfare collaborates with other animal welfare entities to play a central role in USDA’s efforts to: build partnerships domestically and internationally; improve regulatory practices; and reach beyond USDA’s traditional enforcement role to develop outreach, training and educational resources. USDA Animal Care’s emergency response component provides national leadership on the safety and well-being of pets during disasters – with the understanding that supporting animal safety during emergencies is a significant factor in ensuring the well-being of pet owners.

Program Priorities

  • Center for Animal Welfare

    The Center for Animal Welfare collaborates with other animal welfare entities to play a central role in USDA’s efforts to: build partnerships domestically and internationally; improve regulatory practices; and reach beyond USDA’s traditional enforcement role to develop outreach, training and educational resources.

  • Animal Welfare Act

    The Animal Welfare Act and its associated regulations require that federally established standards of care and treatment be provided for certain warm-blooded animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially or exhibited to the public.

  • Animal Care Emergency Programs

    USDA Animal Care’s emergency response component provides national leadership on the safety and well-being of pets during disasters – with the understanding that supporting animal safety during emergencies is a significant factor in ensuring the well-being of pet owners.  

  • Horse Protection Act

    The Horse Protection Act and its associated regulations seek to put an end to soring (a procedure in which horses are subjected to chemical and/or mechanical irritants in order to enhance their gate) by preventing sored horses from participating in exhibitions / shows / sales / auctions.