USDA Animal Care Overview

USDA Animal Care Overview

USDA has upheld and enforced the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act since 1966 and 1970, respectively. Through its inspections, education, cooperative efforts and enforcement, Animal Care protects millions of animals nationwide each year.

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

The Horse Protection Act and its associated regulations seek to put an end to soring by preventing sored horses from participating in exhibitions/shows/sales/auctions. Soring is a practice in which horses are subjected to chemical and/or mechanical irritants in order to enhance their gait so they can score higher in competition.

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

Through its Emergency Programs component, Animal Care safeguards the disaster safety and welfare of its regulated animals, as well as disaster safety and welfare of people and their pets.

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