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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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About Animal Care

Animal Care’s Purpose

Animal Care is a program under the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Our purpose is to:

To achieve this purpose, we work every day to build relationships with and services for the regulated community, partners, and stakeholders, and to promote the efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity of our program.  We do this by providing:

Excellent customer service, including timely review of applications; responsive and courteous handling of customer inquiries and complaints; and fair and equitable inspections and review of appeals of inspection findings, public complaints and other alleged violations, and comments on rulemakings.

Learning opportunities to support humane animal care and use, including practical tips and aids, webinars, symposia, presentations at conferences and meetings, stakeholder messages, and science-based research.

Quality inspections and guidance to support the regulated community in understanding the regulatory requirements, gaining an accurate picture of their compliance status, and working through compliance challenges to ensure humane animal care and use.

Assistance for regulated facilities seeking personalized help with compliance challenges and for people and animals in disasters.

Animal Care At-A-Glance

  • Employs around 200 civil servants located around the United States, including veterinary medical officers and specialists who have expertise with marine mammals, exotic cats, and nonhuman primates.
  • Conducts over 9,000 inspections of approximately 8,000 licensed or registered facilities annually under the Animal Welfare Act
  • Inspects over 1,500 horses at shows and other events annually for compliance with the Horse Protection Act.
  • Invests more than $400,000 annually in cooperative agreements with key emergency management partners to strengthen animal emergency preparedness and response capabilities and build the nation’s resiliency for managing animal issues in disasters.
  • Invests more than $100,000 annually in the Interagency Collaborative Animal Research Education (ICARE) Project to empower Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees and their institutions to improve animal welfare and increase compliance with Federal standards while minimizing regulatory burdens.
  • Provides approximately $15,000 annually to help Native American communities control populations of dogs and cats by offering free spay and neuter services to Tribal members living in rural areas.
  • Partners with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University as part of APHIS's AgDiscovery program to allow students the opportunity to gain a first-hand look at the many career paths open to them in the agricultural sciences.
  • Partners with Minorities in Agriculture, National Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) to provide minority students, professionals, and others with the opportunity to learn about Animal Care and careers in APHIS, and to attract high school-aged youth to the sciences.
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