My commitment to advocating for animal welfare is a long-standing and deeply held personal conviction. As President, I will lead on animal welfare by appointing strong leaders at the Agriculture and Interior departments and all other agencies with exposure to animal welfare issues. I’ll support bills that help animals and veto measures that hurt them.
I have long believed in the power of the human-animal bond and the hard-wired connection we have with wild and domesticated animals. Animals enrich our lives and are an antidote to loneliness and sadness. They comfort young and old alike, and make us more human and humane. More than two-thirds of American households have pets and hundreds of millions of us enjoy visiting national parks and other protected areas to see birds and mammals.
Yet there are still too many examples where the human-animal bond is broken and people treat animals cruelly. I am deeply concerned about the consequence of factory farming on the health of humans, animals, the atmosphere, and our land and water. I want to end the 60-year experiment with factory farming and transition to a far more humane and sustainable form of agriculture, which is already at work in so many parts of the nation.
I will call out other forms of cruelty and exploitation wherever I see them. That includes puppy mills, animal fighting, horse soring and slaughter, trophy hunting, the use of wild animals in circuses, illegal wildlife trafficking and poaching, and other forms of exploitation. Individual and institutional acts of cruelty are damaging not only to the animal, but also to the human soul. I am devoted to making these and other important animal welfare issues part of my agenda as President. This includes weighing in on animal welfare policy issues being considered in Congress and at the executive agency level.
As President I would support:
- I will continue supporting California’s Proposition 2 and Proposition 12, measures which restrict the extreme confinement of farm animals. The latter measure also forbids the sale in California of eggs, pork, and veal that come from farms that subject the animals to extreme confinement.
- I will strongly oppose any effort to subvert state animal welfare and food safety laws through free-standing legislation.
- I support federal policies to ban battery cages, gestation crates, and veal crates so that we have policies that are humane and that provide certainty to farmers. Dozens of major retailers – from Walmart to Kroger’s to McDonald’s – have made pledges on these issues.
- The U.S. government must catch up to the food retail sector on animal welfare and provide pathways for farmers to invest in more humane and extensive production systems.
- I support efforts to phase out the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in animal agriculture and switch to a science based approach. This is a threat to the health of animals and to ourselves as people. Medical professionals such as expert epidemiologists, believe that the overuse of antibiotics is rendering ineffectual whole classes of life-saving antibiotics for humans.
- I support efforts to promote more nutritious meals, including those that favor more produce than meat, in our schools, prisons, military, and other institutional settings influenced by U.S. food and agriculture policy. A higher proportion of these foods on the menu and in the diet will promote healthier lifestyles and a healthier planet. (See Food Safety and Security Policy)
Eliminating Animal Cruelty
- I will continue to support the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) because it’s paramount that the United States adopts an anti-cruelty statute and makes animal abuse a felony. I’ve also been a steadfast opponent of dogfighting and cockfighting, and support efforts to expand federal law against it. I support the application of our federal laws against dogfighting and cockfighting to every part of the nation.
- I will urge congress to pass the Pet and Women’s Safety Act, which will allow pets to be protected across state lines when restraining orders are issued in domestic violence and stalking cases. This 2018 law also allocates funding so that domestic violence shelters can accommodate pets.
- Each year there are millions of animals forced to go through painful experiments in the U.S. These animals are infected with diseases, sickened with toxic chemicals, live in the worst conditions and are often killed when the experiments end. I will strongly oppose testing on live animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, and mice. These tests are not only cruel and unethical, but are unnecessary and unhelpful. There are alternatives to animal testing in the cosmetics industry. I support similar transitions for testing in the chemical, pesticide, and pharmaceutical industries.
- I will vigorously enforce the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act. I will continue to urge Congress and our country to set an example for nations by eliminating the domestic slaughter, trade and import of dogs and cats for human consumption.
- The vast majority of Americans are opposed to horse slaughter. I will urge Congress to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE) to prevent the transport and export of U.S. horses to slaughter for human consumption.
- I will urge Congress to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act to outlaw the inhumane technique of injuring the feet of horses to cause them to exaggerate their gait at horse shows.
- I will vigorously enforce the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act, which bans race-day doping for horse racing and establishes uniform national standards for horse racing overseen by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
- I strongly oppose efforts by some lawmakers to remove gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species. I will restore protections for predators on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service lands, and other areas where previous administrations have worked to unravel rules to protect predators. Predators are an important part of a healthy ecosystem and must be supported to enable a healthy environment.
- Our food system needs to be redefined so it is oriented around predator management and protection rather than predator response.
- A strong science based approach needs to be in place to defend and protect all facets of our environment. Funding needs to be available to implement proven environmentally responsible and humane predator management techniques for our farmers and ranchers.
- As President, I will forbid any imports of trophies or other animal parts, unlawfully acquired, from threatened or endangered species. I’m passionate about the United States diminishing and eliminating its commercial ivory trade, a practice that drives the killing of thousands of elephants every year and may ultimately lead to their extinction. The U.S. is the second largest ivory market in the world, so it is our duty to set the precedent for phasing out this unscrupulous practice.
- I will urge Congress to pass the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. Typically Sharks are finned alive, and their bodies are thrown back into the sea for the animal to suffocate or bleed to death. This inhumane practice must end immediately.
- I will continue supporting and vigorously enforcing The Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), through the Environmental Protection Agency. This act will prohibit dumping into the ocean material that endangers or degrades the health of the marine environment and human beings.
- I will support and fund environmental organizations and local groups who help with cleaning up our oceans to remove plastic and any hazardous material that pollutes the water and endangers our marine life.
- I will urge Congress to pass the Bear Protection Act, which will prohibit the import, export, and interstate trade of bear related products such as gall bladders. We must keep these animals alive for their own sake and for the health of our rural economies. Wildlife watching is a massive and vital job-producing industry, and depends on the viability and presence of animals in natural areas.
- We must reverse previous amendments to the Endangered Species Act, which removed automatic prohibitions on the harming or killing, import and export of endangered species, and also removed the ability to designate critical habitat areas for endangered species recovery. These amendments also decreased science-based decision-making on endangered species protections in favor of political and economic considerations.
Reforming our Federal Agencies
- I oppose the large-scale poisoning, trapping, and aerial gunning of wildlife conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a subsidy to private interests who use our public lands.
- I will ban the use of poisons for predator control — sodium cyanide and sodium fluoroacetate — to kill predators in the West. States like California, Oregon, and Washington forbid them and we should ensure every state adopts these controls. The poisons are cruel and indiscriminate and should be outlawed everywhere.
- I would ban the use of lead ammunition on all federal lands. Federal agencies have a statutory duty to protect and conserve wildlife on their lands; allowing mass poisoning of animals is inconsistent with those imperatives. I will urge all states to pass similar laws for state lands.
- I will ban all commercial trapping on national wildlife refuges. National wildlife refuges are the one category of federal lands set up primarily to benefit wildlife. The use of steel-jawed leghold traps, wire snares, and Conibear traps are inherently inhumane and often non-selective. We should not allow market killing of wildlife on refuges, especially by inhumane means.
- The Bureau of Land Management must more broadly implement on-the-ground contraception programs, such as the PZP vaccine, for wild horses and burros in the West. Round ups are inhumane and costly and are breaking the budget of the agency.
- I would appoint a White House liaison on animal welfare. Animal welfare issues require attention with almost every federal department. The White House will have a senior policy staffer working to coordinate animal welfare functions across agencies.