Animal Care

Last Modified: April 19, 2024
Animal Care employee and zoo employee standing in front of an exhibit of flamingos in background

Animal Care works to ensure the humane treatment of more than 1 million vulnerable animals, nationwide. Through inspections and outreach, we oversee thousands of groups, from breeders to managers of horse shows, to make sure their animals receive care and treatment that meets Federal standards. We also provide national leadership on the safety and well-being of pets and other animals during disasters.

Learn more about our organization and the authorities under which we work.


Regulations established under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) set standards for the humane care and treatment of certain animals exhibited to the public, sold for use as pets, used in research, or transported commercially.

The Center for Animal Welfare is a national resource for Federal agencies, State and local officials, foreign governments, industry groups, partner organizations, universities, and others. With expertise in a wide range of animal species, we can provide advice and best practices for humane care and treatment, health, and welfare.

We work closely with other government organizations under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Response Framework to develop an integrated approach to disaster relief for pets and other animals.

The Horse Protection Act and its associated regulations seek to put an end to soring–a cruel and inhumane practice in which chemical or mechanical irritants are applied to a horse's legs to enhance their gait. We monitor for sored horses which may lead to a disqualification from participating in exhibitions, shows, sales, or auctions.

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