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October 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Don’t Monkey Around with Chimp Cap

If the federal government could spend its dollars in a more cost-efficient way and make programs run better, shouldn’t Congress allow it? That’s the idea behind S. 1561, the CHIMP Act Amendments of 2013, which passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee by voice vote this morning. The bipartisan legislation sponsored by HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Ranking Member Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., would give the National Institutes of Health the flexibility within its budget to retire chimpanzees to sanctuaries rather than continue warehousing them in laboratories.

ChimpSanctuaries provide higher welfare standards for chimps at a lower cost to taxpayers than housing chimps in barren labs. Unless Congress acts, however, NIH will soon be barred from providing money to care for chimps in sanctuaries, because the agency is on the brink of reaching the $30 million cap set forth in the CHIMP Act of 2000. There is no similar restriction on spending unlimited dollars for chimps in labs, and we need to remove the barrier and allow NIH to more efficiently spend the money it has.

After 13 years of cumulative costs, NIH is set to reach its spending limit for the care of chimps in sanctuaries in mid-November, and the agency has indicated it will no longer be able to provide funds for the 159 government-owned chimps currently in sanctuary once that happens. The agency will also be prevented from sending an additional 370 chimps, who are currently housed in laboratories, but are retired or scheduled to be retired from research under NIH guidelines, to sanctuary.

As Sen. Harkin told ABC News, “The National Institutes of Health has made a worthy and important decision to scale back the use of chimpanzees in medical research. Current law limits NIH’s ability to use its existing funds to provide care to its chimpanzees already housed in sanctuaries, in addition to carrying out the important goal of moving the chimps currently living in research labs. We have an obligation to provide care for animals that have directly contributed to our medical knowledge, and it is absolutely urgent that Congress act to remove this funding limitation now and for the future.”

A technical fix to remove the funding barrier was almost included in the latest spending package to lift the debt ceiling and restart the federal government. However, as Kerry Young reported in Roll Call, it was dropped from the package and became a victim of the larger budget battles derailing the appropriations process on Capitol Hill. This despite the fact it saves money and there is virtually no opposition; as Young wrote, “The retirement of the chimpanzees—many of which have spent their lives in captivity, from testing labs to sanctuaries—has been highly popular and it’s a good economic move for the NIH. Retiring the chimpanzees to a sanctuary will in time bring down the NIH’s expenses, because caring for them at laboratory-related sites is more expensive.”

Now it’s up to Congress to pass the authorizing bill, S. 1561, and today’s swift committee action is an important step. The Senate and House should both fast-track this critical legislation to address the spending limit and allow NIH the continued flexibility of providing care for chimps at sanctuary, before time runs out in the coming weeks. The scientific consensus is that chimps are largely unnecessary for research, and we must get on with the business of allowing these highly intelligent and social creatures to live out their remaining years in natural and peaceful sanctuary settings, rather than continue to waste tax dollars warehousing them for no reason.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Remembering Rep. Bill Young

This past week the animal protection movement lost a long-serving ally in Congress, with the passing of U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., at age 82. He served 43 years in the House, coming to Washington in 1971 during the Richard Nixon administration, and was the most senior Republican in Congress at the time of his death.

As the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee for six years, Rep. Young consistently supported efforts to boost funding for the adequate enforcement of animal protection laws, such as the Animal Welfare Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and the federal animal fighting statute. During the time of his chairmanship, from 1999 to 2005, annual Animal Welfare Funding increased from $9,175,000 to $17,436,000.

YoungThis year, he joined Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., in sponsoring a bipartisan amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill, to restore the prohibition on funding USDA inspections at horse slaughter plants. The amendment passed the Appropriations Committee by voice vote, and having the former chairman as a leader on the issue was an important factor. If the provision is retained when the final appropriations bill is signed into law, it will block horse slaughter plants from reopening on U.S. soil.

Rep. Young also joined Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Sam Farr, D-Calif., and Lois Capps, D-Calif., as part of a bipartisan quartet sponsoring the Puppy Uniform Protection and Standards (PUPS) Act. The goal of the bill was to bring large-scale commercial dog breeders that sell puppies directly to consumers over the Internet into the federal system of oversight, and have them follow the same rules on licensing, inspections, and standards of animal care that breeders selling to pet stores already have to meet. The USDA finalized a rule this year that achieved the same policy, and the bill by Rep. Young and his colleagues helped provide congressional support for that effort.

Rep. Young cosponsored a wide range of animal protection bills over his long career, on issues such as horse soring, animal fighting, the use of chimpanzees in research, and many more. He called on the White House to ban the import of large constrictor snakes that threaten public safety as well as native wildlife in Florida and other regions, and he testified eloquently against the inhumane treatment of elephants in traveling circuses.

It’s remarkable to think about the transformational change that Rep. Young saw during his time in Washington, even as we reflect upon his crucial role. He served in the years when Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and so many statutes that still stand as some of the nation’s most important federal animal protection policies.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund expresses our thanks to Rep. Young for his career-long concern and advocacy for animal protection, and we offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and staff.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How Have Your Lawmakers Scored So Far?

As we close in on the final couple months of 2013, HSLF is posting a preview of our 2013 Humane Scorecard. I hope you will check it out and see how your U.S. senators and U.S. representative have performed so far this year on animal protection issues. If they did well, please thank them; if they have room for improvement, please let them know you’re paying attention and there is still time for them to do better before the final scorecard is wrapped up at the end of the year.

CapitolIn this preliminary report, we evaluate lawmakers’ performance on animal protection issues by scoring a number of key votes, but also their support for adequate funding for the enforcement of animal welfare laws, and their cosponsorship of priority bills. We provided extra credit for legislators who took the lead on an animal protection issue, or who signed a letter opposing the dangerous King amendment in the Farm Bill, because that radical and overreaching provision is such an urgent threat. Building the number of cosponsors on a bill is an important way to show that there is a critical mass of bipartisan support for the policy, and help push the legislation over the finish line. Already in the last few weeks, we’ve seen a dramatic jump in the cosponsor counts for each of these bills, and we need to keep the momentum going with your help.

The bill to crack down on the cruel practice of horse soring has 209 cosponsors in the House and 26 in the Senate; the egg industry reform bill has 141 cosponsors in the House and 15 in the Senate; the animal fighting spectator bill has 211 cosponsors in the House and 33 in the Senate; and the horse slaughter bill has 156 cosponsors in the House and 28 in the Senate. These are impressive numbers, and they show the strength of our cause and our grassroots support.

Please check the scorecard charts and call your two U.S. senators and your U.S. representative today. Thank each of them for their support of the bills that they’re already on and urge them to cosponsor any of the four animal protection bills being counted on the 2013 Humane Scorecard that they’re not yet cosponsoring. If they decide to join on before the end of the 2013 session, they’ll receive credit on the final Humane Scorecard published at the end of the year.

You can look up your federal legislators here, and then call the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to each of your legislators. Here are the four animal protection bills whose cosponsors are being counted on the scorecard:

HorseHorse Soring—S. 1406 and H.R. 1518, the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act. Introduced by Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Mark Warner, D-Va., and Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.—to crack down on the cruel practice of “soring,” in which unscrupulous trainers deliberately inflict pain on the hooves and legs of Tennessee Walking Horses and certain other breeds to exaggerate their high-stepping gait and gain unfair competitive advantage at horse shows. Soring methods include applying caustic chemicals, using plastic wrap and tight bandages to “cook” those chemicals deep into the horse’s flesh for days, attaching heavy chains to strike against the sore legs, inserting bolts, screws or other hard objects into sensitive areas of the hooves, cutting the hooves down to expose the live tissue, and using salicylic acid or other painful substances to slough off scarred tissue in an attempt to disguise the sored areas. More than 40 years ago, Congress tried to rein in this abuse by enacting the Horse Protection Act, but rampant soring continues, according to a 2010 audit by the USDA Inspector General that recommended reforms incorporated in the PAST Act. The PAST Act will amend the Horse Protection Act to end the failed industry self-policing system, strengthen penalties, ban the use of devices associated with soring, and make the actual soring of a horse for the purpose of showing or selling it illegal, as well as directing another to do so. This legislation is endorsed by the American Horse Council and more than 30 other national and state horse groups, as well as by the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practioners, and many others. The PAST Act is not expected to add costs to the federal government; it will simply enable USDA to redirect its enforcement efforts and resources in a more efficient and effective way.

Eggs and Hen Housing—S. 820 and H.R. 1731, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments. Introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Reps. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., Jeff Denham, R-Calif., Sam Farr, D-Calif., and Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.—to provide for a uniform national standard for the housing and treatment of egg-laying hens, phased in over a period of 15-16 years (during the normal course of replacing aged equipment for many producers), which will significantly improve animal welfare and provide a stable and secure future for U.S. egg farmers. The legislation is supported by the egg industry and animal welfare groups, and expressly does not affect any other livestock sector or food product other than eggs. Under this legislation, each laying hen will ultimately be provided nearly double the amount of current space, along with enrichments such as nest boxes and perches that permit hens to better express natural behaviors. Egg farmers will be able to invest in these enriched colony cage systems with the assurance that they will face regulatory certainty and not a patchwork of conflicting state laws—helping industry at no cost to the federal government (the preliminary CBO score on this legislation is zero). Studies have shown higher productivity for hens in enriched colony cage systems—i.e., more eggs and lower hen mortality. An economic study by the independent research group Agralytica concluded that the bill’s reforms are expected to increase consumer prices by less than 1 penny per egg, spread out over the lengthy phase-in period. Consumers support this legislation by a margin of 4-to-1, and it has been endorsed by leading consumer organizations, as well as by the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 1,000 individual family farms across the country, and many others. Cage-free and free-range systems, as well as operations with fewer than 3,000 laying hens, will be unaffected by the legislation, except that they may see increased sales as consumers are able to more clearly distinguish what’s available on store shelves, thanks to the bill’s labeling provisions. View responses to frequently asked questions here.

PitbullAnimal Fighting Spectators—S. 666 and H.R. 366, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act. Introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and David Vitter, R-La, and Reps. Tom Marino, R-Pa., Jim McGovern, D-Mass., John Campbell, R-Calif., and Jim Moran, D-Va.—to establish misdemeanor penalties for knowingly attending an organized animal fight and felony penalties for knowingly bringing a minor to such a fight. Members also receive credit if they voted in favor of a related amendment, offered by Rep. McGovern during markup of the Farm Bill in the House Agriculture Committee (markup Roll Call #10 to H.R. 1947). While Congress has strengthened federal animal fighting law in recent years, this bill will close a remaining gap: prohibiting spectating and helping take the profit out of animal fighting.  Spectators are more than mere observers at animal fights. They are participants and accomplices who enable the crime, paying hundreds or thousands of dollars in admission fees and gambling wagers, and helping conceal organizers and handlers who try to blend into the crowd when a raid occurs. This legislation is widely supported by nearly 300 national, state and local law enforcement agencies (covering all 50 states), including the Fraternal Order of Police and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. The preliminary CBO estimate on this legislation is zero.  Related language is in the House-passed Farm Bill (H.R. 2642), as it was in last year’s House Agriculture Committee bill. This legislation has also been approved three times by the full Senate—in June as part of its Farm Bill (S. 954), and last year as a Farm Bill floor amendment and as free-standing legislation (S. 1947) on a vote of 88-11.

Horse Slaughter—S. 541 and H.R. 1094, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act. Introduced by Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.—to protect horses and consumers by prohibiting the transport and export of U.S. horses to slaughter for human consumption. American horses are not raised for food and are routinely given hundreds of drugs over their lifetimes that can be toxic to humans if ingested. The shocking discovery of horse meat in beef products in the U.K. underscores the potential threat to American health if horse slaughter plants were to open here. Horse slaughter is cruel and cannot be made humane, and the U.S. public overwhelmingly opposes it. Horses are shipped for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water, or rest in crowded trucks in which the animals are often seriously injured or killed in transit. Horses are skittish by nature due to their heightened fight-or-flight response, and the methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths; they often endure repeated blows during attempts to render them unconscious and sometimes remain alive and kicking during dismemberment. The horse slaughter industry is a predatory, inhumane enterprise. They don’t “euthanize” old horses—but precisely the opposite: they buy up young and healthy horses, often by misrepresenting their intentions, and kill them to sell the meat to Europe and Japan. It makes no sense for the federal government to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to oversee new horse slaughter plants at a time when Congress is so focused on fiscal responsibility.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Howling Shame

Today marks the first day of Wisconsin’s second consecutive wolf hunting and trapping season in decades. The first wolf was killed this morning after suffering in a steel-jawed leghold trap. It’s another round of killing in what has been a pogrom against wolves in the areas they’ve reclaimed—with hundreds killed in the Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stripped wolves of their federal protections and turned management of their populations over to states with hostile anti-wolf policies.

WolfIn Wisconsin, despite opposition from scientists, humane groups and Native American tribes, the state established a quota of 251 wolves to be killed this year. In fact, a recent public opinion poll showed that Wisconsin residents opposed a wolf hunt by an 8 to 1 margin. The state’s wolf population has declined from a high of 880 to 809 over the past two years, and the sport hunting and trapping quota of 251 wolves does not include those that will be killed for depredation purposes (76 last year), or those killed by illegal poaching and car collisions.

Cumulatively, this could result in more than 40 percent of Wisconsin’s fragile, recovering wolf population perishing this season. After decades of work and millions of dollars spent to bring the wolf back from the brink of extinction, the species is now at risk from the same practices that caused the decline in the first place. Worst of all, if breeding wolves are killed at random, packs will disband, which has happened in Yellowstone National Park. Because of these significant concerns, wildlife protection groups, including The Humane Society of the United States, filed a lawsuit earlier this year to restore federal protection for Great Lakes wolves.

Today through February, Wisconsin’s iconic wolves will be left to suffer in traps and killed with firearms, crossbows and bow and arrows with disregard for science-based concerns about the species’ sustained conservation. Wolf hunters can use electronic predator calls and shoot wolves over bait. Most unsettling, and rightfully the subject of opposition and legal challenges from Wisconsin animal shelters and respected animal behaviorists, is the use of packs of dogs to chase down and kill wolves this season. A Wisconsin veterinarian has shared gruesome details of hunting dogs being brought to his clinic ripped to pieces and dying on the surgery table and his concerns for dogs involved wolf altercations. The state rightly bans dogfighting, but has essentially sanctioned wolf-dog fighting. 

These are the same threats we expect wolves to face in other states that have rushed to open hunting and trapping seasons. In the neighboring state of Michigan, where the wolf population has also declined from 687 to 658 animals in the last two years, the first hunting season is set to open on November 15. The politicians in Wisconsin and other states where reckless wolf hunts are taking place may not be listening to their citizens, but in Michigan, the voters have a unique opportunity to make things right. By gathering enough signatures and placing a referendum on the statewide ballot, all Michigan voters can have a say in whether to keep wolves protected or allow their hunting as a game species—and can send a message to other states that people don’t support a renewed wolf slaughter. If you live in Michigan, we need your help collecting signatures—it could not be more urgent for wolves. And if you care about wolves, please support our efforts to be vigilant and energetic in their defense wherever and whenever they come under threat.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

King Amendment Goes to the Dogs

As we enter the second week of the government shutdown, the to-do list for Congress only gets longer. During the coming weeks, we will hear a lot of talk about the debt ceiling, efforts to reopen the government and debate about cutting various federal programs. The Farm Bill is another major piece of legislation still awaiting congressional action, and there has been some talk about rolling the massive agriculture policy vehicle into a “grand bargain” that reopens the government and deals with the debt ceiling.

PuppymillThis should be a concern for animal advocates, and much would depend on which version of the Farm Bill is folded into a larger must-pass package. Both the House and the Senate versions of the bill include provisions fortifying the anti-animal fighting statute and making it a federal crime to attend or bring a child to a staged animal fight. The House version, however, also contains a radical and overreaching amendment, offered by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that could nullify any state or local law that sets standards for agricultural production.

The King amendment has come under fire from nearly 100 organizations, including the National Conference of State Legislatures, the County Executives of America, the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Association of State Fire Marshalls. All of these organizations recognize a dangerous federal power grab when they see one.

The most obvious impacts of the King amendment are aimed at farm animal protection laws that several states have passed over the last decade, setting basic standards of care for animals on factory farms, prohibiting inhumane practices such as extreme confinement and force-feeding. But the King amendment is so vague and broad, that it could be applied to any state or local law dealing with an agricultural product—from catfish to tobacco—and could even roll back laws designed to protect dogs in large-scale, commercial puppy mills.

In five states, for example, dogs are considered “livestock,” and thus the safety-net of laws and regulations protecting breeding dogs and puppies could be quashed by the King amendment’s mandate that any “agricultural product” be immune from all state regulation. If the King amendment is enacted, basic regulations ensuring that dogs receive adequate housing and protection from the elements, clean water and food, and veterinary care could be in jeopardy in Georgia, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, and Oregon.

In another ten states that classify dogs as livestock for certain purposes, it would be up to the courts to decide whether the King amendment wipes out humane protections against abusive puppy mills. At the very least, humane law enforcement efforts in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming would be severely chilled by the threat of federal preemption under King, and may face long, expensive legal battles in the courts—further hampering efforts to crack down on animal cruelty.

And the damage won’t stop there. Another 21 states have so-called “puppy lemon laws” that place conditions on the sale of dogs to consumers, not only protecting families who purchase sick dogs, but also using market forces to encourage humane treatment and better conditions by commercial dog sellers. But under the extreme King amendment, these types of consumer regulations could be wiped out as well because they place a burden on interstate commerce.

Every day, we find new and startling ways the King amendment could decimate decades of humane, consumer protection, environmental conservation, public safety, and other important state laws and regulations. As the government shutdown continues to march forward, one thing Republicans and  Democrats should be able to agree on is that rolling back state health and safety regulations to pre-20th century levels is no way to run a government.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

What Does a Government Shutdown Mean for Animals?

Congressional Democrats and Republicans failed to reach agreement last night on continued funding of the federal government, and Washington this morning began the process of temporarily mothballing its programs and services. In a shutdown, “non-essential” federal workers are furloughed, while some “essential” operations continue. Several people have asked how a government shutdown affects animals, either by suspending critical animal welfare functions or providing a temporary reprieve from government killing programs. While some of the details are still emerging, here’s a brief rundown on how the agencies are handling the shutdown and some of the effects that we expect it could have on animals:

Congress2U.S. Department of Agriculture

Under the Animal Welfare Act, USDA is charged with ensuring that minimum standards of care and treatment are provided by regulated entities (approximately 12,000 sites currently), including research facilities, commercial dog breeders and dealers, and exhibitors of exotic animals. Without federal government funding, USDA will not be able to inspect these facilities to ensure humane care or provide enforcement against violators, meaning puppy mills, research labs, roadside zoos, and the like could cut corners and operate recklessly while no one is watching.

The agency’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service issued a statement today indicating that “facility inspections and complaint investigations related to the Animal Welfare Act” would not continue during a funding lapse. Additionally, USDA’s website is dark due to the shutdown, which means the public no longer has access to the animal care database to review AWA inspection reports and violations. The agency’s consideration of important rulemaking provisions to strengthen the Animal Welfare Act, such as prohibiting the public contact with tigers and other dangerous wildlife, will grind to a halt.

APHIS also indicated it would no longer provide “assistance for the control of most plant and animal pests and diseases.” We assume that means some activities of the Wildlife Services program, which annually kills tens of thousands of predators on both public and private lands, could cease during the shutdown, providing some relief to wildlife typically targeted through aerial gunning, poisoning, and other inhumane methods. Predominantly coyotes are killed—regardless of whether they cause any harm to livestock or other property—but also wolves, bears, and mountain lions, as well as non-target victims including endangered species and family pets. Some Wildlife Services activities are not subject to congressional appropriations, because they are funded through reimbursable agreements with state or local governments or other third parties, so the trapping and lethal killing may continue.  

Under the Horse Protection Act, USDA is mandated to ensure that Tennessee walking horses are not subjected to the abusive practice of soring—the intentional infliction of pain to a horse’s legs or hooves with chemicals or other substances in order to force an artificial, exaggerated gait. Without federal government funding, we expect that USDA oversight and inspection will not be provided at Tennessee walking horse shows, and USDA will not be able to impose penalties upon violators to prevent cruelty to these horses.

Slaughter plants cannot conduct slaughter operations without the presence of USDA inspectors overseeing that food safety and humane handling regulations are followed. USDA has indicated that front-line inspectors have been designated “essential” and will continue working. The Food Safety Inspection Service said it will “ensure adequate senior level management of and coordination of the agency’s public health responsibilities during a shutdown,” which is important for identifying and responding to serious humane handling violations, during which inspectors are supposed to notify upper-management, who make the decision to suspend slaughter plant operations. The shutdown, unfortunately, should mean regulatory staff are not available to finalize proposed rules to improve humane slaughter enforcement, such as closing the loophole on the slaughter of downed veal calves.

Department of the Interior

The Bureau of Land Management stated that it will maintain the “minimum number of employees needed to humanely care for” and feed the 50,000 wild horses in short and long-term holding facilities. Unfortunately, it will cease wild horse and burro adoptions, compounding its current problem of warehousing wild horses and burros at taxpayer expense, and will likely not be able to proceed with the more humane and fiscally responsible short-term round-ups needed for the application of fertility control and release of horses to live on the range.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service explained that law enforcement staff will be considered “essential” employees, including federal wildlife officers on the nation’s national wildlife refuges. Patrolling vast amounts of land with scarce resources, these officers are the last line of defense to prevent illegal killing of wildlife. Refuges and other federal lands are being closed to the public, presumably also closed to hunting and trapping and other consumptive use. Furthermore, service employees will no longer be able to work on the listing of imperiled animals under the Endangered Species Act, which means the consideration of potential listings for chimpanzees and African lions will be delayed.

Department of Commerce

The National Marine Fisheries Service has suspended its Dynamic Management Area program which protects endangered right whales from deadly ship strikes. The DMA program notifies ships of the “out of season” presence of right whales and asks that ships observe a 10 knot speed limit when going through the area to prevent deadly ship strikes. The North Atlantic right whale is critically endangered, with only a few hundred remaining, and the shutdown removes one of their protections.

Additionally, there will be no federal response for marine mammal strandings except for issues of public health and safety or live animal safety. The government will continue to respond to live animals that need immediate treatment, such as those with life threatening entanglements or beached cetaceans. However, for large whale entanglements the government has stated that significant review of the case may be needed prior to determining whether immediate response, and the use of government resources, is necessary.

Department of Health and Human Services

The National Institutes of Health said it will continue “animal care services to protect the health of NIH animals,” including 1,350,000 mice, 390,000 fish, 63,000 rats and 3,900 primates used in research. NIH also indicated it will “discontinue some veterinary services” and “will not take any actions on grant applications or awards,” which will delay work on developing more efficient and cost-effective methods of using non-animal alternatives in research.

The Food and Drug Administration noted that it “will be unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities.” The means a delay on important rules to ensure the safety of pet food, in the wake of a number of recalls.

For a number of other agencies—from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Federal Trade Commission to U.S. Customs and Border Protection—it is unlikely that they could initiate any new investigations during the shutdown, potentially hampering efforts to crack down on factory farm pollution, the mislabeling and false advertising of fur products, and even the import of dog fur and cockfighting birds across our borders. We will continue to monitor the developments as the shutdown unfolds, and keep you informed of its impact on animal protection.

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