The PAW Plan

Sign up to help make a future for all of us.

The PAW Plan Brief

Animals make our lives healthier and happier and deserve our respect and care. We have a responsibility to advance the welfare of animals and protect endangered species from extinction.

As president, I will defend animals from abuse, and ensure our children and future generations experience their natural beauty.

  • End the killing of domestic dogs and cats for population control
  • Make animal abuse a federal crime
  • Increase federal funding for spaying and neutering, and community education programs
  • Hold puppy mills accountable
  • Raise animal welfare standards in factory farms
  • Prohibit cosmetic product testing on animals
  • Strengthen the Endangered Species Act, reversing Trump’s actions
  • Create a $2 billion National Wildlife Recovery Fund
  • Protect 30 percent of U.S. lands by 2030 with an ambitious goal of 50 percent by 2050
  • Ban the import of big game trophies

Related News

Introduction

The Protecting Animals and Wildlife (PAW) Plan

Animals are an important part of our lives, families, communities, and the planet we share. From our most loyal companions at home to the most majestic creatures in the wild, animals make our lives healthier and happier. There is a special bond between people and animals: they comfort us when we’re in need, help us heal when we’re sick, calm our anxiety when we’re stressed, and bring us joy in moments of despair. Animals also work alongside us during disaster relief and every day as service animals. In short, animals inspire us with their natural beauty, and we have a responsibility to protect and care for them.

Hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs are in need of a loving home, and hundreds of millions of livestock and poultry suffer inhumane conditions.

Last year, over 700,000 animals were euthanized in America’s shelters, a cruel and unjust fate for far too many lives. But our nation can choose a different path. This month, Delaware became the first “no-kill” state, with more than 90 percent of animals returned to their owners or provided a home. In California, voters approved new standards for raising chickens, pigs, and cows, and established the most progressive animal farm welfare protections in the world. America’s laboratories of democracy are developing novel protections, yet animals at large still confront an existential threat.

One million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, according to a new United Nations scientific report.

The climate crisis is accelerating an unprecedented decline in biodiversity, threatening not only the future of animals but human life. The Trump Administration’s response has been to dramatically weaken the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), the landmark conservation law signed by President Nixon. Even though 99 percent of the animals, plants, and insects protected by the ESA have been saved from extinction, President Trump is privatizing public land to appease big oil and gas corporations at the expense of conservation and preservation. Trump values profits over people, individual fortunes over our collective future, and he is the most anti-animal president in our history.

I believe that we can do better at advancing animal welfare and protecting endangered species from extinction.

In my hometown of San Antonio, we’ve improved from a place that killed more pets per capita than anywhere in America to achieving a no-kill status in less than a decade. This type of rapid transformation was made possible by a concerted community effort, funding by public, private, and non-profit partners, and being ambitious with our goals. I’m committed to ending the euthanasia of domestic dogs and cats for population control by providing the resources to address the underlying causes of stray populations. We should expand access to spaying and neutering services with a $40 million Local Animal Communities grant program, promote adoption, hold puppy mills accountable, make animal abuse a federal crime, and raise standards in factory farms. Our plan to advance animal welfare is not only the right thing to do, but will improve people’s lives through responsible pet ownership and a more sustainable agricultural system.

Public policy must also confront the consequences of the climate crisis, including the threat of animal extinctions. History has demonstrated that the Endangered Species Act is an effective tool to save at-risk species. The bald eagle, an emblem of America’s strength and grace, was preserved by measures taken through this law. As president, I will appoint an Interior Secretary who’s not a lobbyist for oil and gas corporations, but a conservation scientist committed to cleaning up Trump’s environmental disaster. We will create a $2 billion National Wildlife Recovery Fund to combat the extinction threat, protect over 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans for wildlife preservation with a 50 percent goal by 2050, and crack down on hunting elephants and other endangered species by doubling the Multinational Species Conservation Fund. The grizzly bear, humpback whale, American alligator, grey wolf, spotted owl, and many more species were brought back from the brink of extinction and are alive today thanks to conservation efforts and a focus on the future.

We each have not only an opportunity, but a responsibility to advance the welfare of animals and protect endangered species from extinction.

People and animals have coexisted and thrived together since the start of history, but now with the climate crisis and human activity that symbiotic relationship is at risk. Imagine a world without majestic creatures like elephants or the soaring bald eagle on a sunny day. Imagine our communities without stray dogs and cats having hundreds of stranded off-spring, but rather every healthy pet in a caring home. It’s up to all of us neighbors, local leaders, activist and yes, even candidates for president of the United States to speak up and propose a plan for a more sustainable, happy, and healthy future.

Please consider rescuing an animal:

1

Advance Animal Welfare

1. Stop the Killing of Domestic Cats and Dogs

Over the last few decades, activism, animal welfare laws, and the practice of spaying and neutering pets has decreased the number of healthy dogs and cats euthanized in shelters from over 20 million in 1970 to under 1 million today. We can ensure that no healthy dogs and cats are killed, and that every pet can find a loving home. This requires supporting local communities and states, and implementing policies that strengthen animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.

  • Work to end the use of lethal methods of animal control and ensure domestic dogs and cats in shelters are able to live in humane conditions by supporting sustainable pet communities.
  • Support local communities in managing local domestic dog and cat populations. Over 23 million pets live in underserved communities and tens of millions of cats do not have owners, according to the Humane Society of the United States. The vast majority of these cats and dogs are not spayed or neutered. They contribute to a growing population that threatens people and wildlife.
  • Establish a $40 million Local Animal Communities grant program within the United States Department of Agriculture. This program would provide grants to local governments to expand access to veterinary care for vaccinations and spaying and neutering services in underserved communities, support cat programs that employ trap-neuter-return (TNR) methods including on military bases, increase assistance to enforce local animal welfare laws, and promote adoption by supporting local public information campaigns.
  • Support animal companionship in federal policy. Pets are considered family, and federal policy on housing should reflect that fact. Policies that support pet ownership improve the lives of pet owners and will lower the number of dogs and cats turned over to shelters or released into the community.
  • Implement pet-friendly, breed-neutral policies in federally-supported affordable housing construction and military housing. I have proposed $500 billion in affordable housing investments over ten years to build at least 3 million new homes and lower the cost of housing in the United States. These new, affordable-housing units will be required to have pet-friendly policies.
  • Work with federally-supported homeless shelters to ensure pets belonging to homeless individuals seeking refuge are not prohibited entry. I am committed to ending child, family, and youth homelessness by 2024 and chronic homelessness by 2028. Reaching this goal will require additional investments into affordable housing, homelessness-intervention programs, de-criminalizing homelessness, and de-stigmatizing homelessness, including by recognizing the right of homeless individuals to have animal companions.
  • Establish a program to support pet-friendly, breed-neutral policies in public housing with technical and financial assistance. Oppose efforts to prohibit pets by public housing authorities.
  • Strengthen oversight of federally licensed animal breeders and close loopholes in enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. Animal breeders must commit to minimum animal welfare standards in order to receive a federal license, but inspections are too often infrequent and infractions are commonly ignored with no repercussions. The Trump administration has also taken efforts to hide the names of breeders, animal dealers, and trainers from inspection reports published online. While many breeders maintain safe, sanitary, and humane conditions, the most egregious breeders, often referred to as puppy mills, hold dogs in unsanitary conditions and contribute to overpopulation.
  • Publish all USDA inspection reports of federally licensed animal breeders, including information identifying the breeder, and require pet stores to provide customers with reports on the conditions of the animal breeders.
  • Raise minimum comfort standards for animals in the care of federally licensed breeders, including instituting increased space, veterinary care, and a socializing requirement under the Animal Welfare Act, and implement standards for dogs transported for long periods of time.
  • Ensure that federally licensed animal breeders that repeatedly violate Animal Welfare Act requirements face appropriate penalties, including revocation of federal licenses.
  • Close loopholes that allow breeders connected to animal abuse to continue operating animal breeding operations by passing the bipartisan WOOF! Act, sponsored by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and Rep. Charlie Crist in the House of Representatives.

2. Make animal cruelty a federal crime:

In 2010, Congress applied criminal penalties for the creation, sale, and distribution of videos depicting animals being killed in inhumane ways in a broad and bipartisan effort. We need to pass the bipartisan PACT Act, introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch and Sen. Pat Toomey, and ensure these actions are prohibited, regardless of if they were filmed.

3. Strengthen animal welfare standards in factory farms

Broad reforms are needed in agriculture to support independent family farms, raise labor standards, and adopt sustainable practices. Animal welfare is directly linked to healthy and sustainable farming practices and is a key component of our broader efforts to combat climate change.
  • Establish minimum standards for animal welfare in agriculture including minimum space standards for livestock and poultry, that improve healthy and sustainable farming practices.
  • Support funding for farms to participate in independent animal welfare certification programs to improve transparency of agricultural practices, with publicly available inspection reports to inform consumers.
  • Oppose efforts by states to institute “ag-gag” laws that silence whistleblowers, limit transparency, and have repeatedly been ruled unconstitutional.

4. Prohibit the testing of cosmetic products on animals

No animal should have to suffer when we develop perfumes, colognes, and soap when there are humane alternatives.

5. Ban unlicensed private ownership of big cats, such as lions and tigers.

Thousands of lions, tigers, and other big cats that belong in the wild are in the hands of private owners. Some estimates indicate more tigers live in private ownership in the United States than in the wild. This poses a serious threat to public safety and welfare of these animals. We must transition these cats to conservation-oriented programs that are well-equipped to care for them.

6. Protect horses

by instituting a permanent ban on horse slaughter for human consumption, ban race-day doping of horses, and strengthen penalties and protections against horse soring. I respect the cultural importance of wild horses and support shifting Bureau of Land Management resources towards range management. This would include science-based data collection and the use of temporary fertility measures to manage the wild horse and burro population.

2

Protect Endangered Species

1. Strengthen the Endangered Species Act.

The Trump administration is weakening the Endangered Species Act, making it easier to remove or downgrade protections for animals. The climate crisis is putting over 1 million animal species at risk of extinction. I will ensure Endangered Species Act designations and classifications are created based on scientific facts, incorporating both the current and projected effects of climate change, reversing this administration’s actions.

2. Establish a $2 billion National Wildlife Recovery Fund.

We are in the midst of a wildlife crisis. According to the National Wildlife Federation, more than 150 species in the United States have gone extinct and one-fifth of species worldwide are at a high risk of extinction. The National Wildlife Recovery Fund will provide at least $2 billion in funding each year for state and tribal governments, to protect, maintain, and strengthen wildlife populations.
  • Bolster Efforts on Habitat Conservation. Scientists have begun to sound the alarm that we are entering the early stages of a sixth mass extinction. We must protect urban wildlife populations by funding the protection and conservation of important wildlife corridors, as well as double down on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s complex captive breeding and release efforts.
  • Rescind Trump administration efforts to undermine the Clean Water Act. The Trump administration’s to undermine environmental laws has been relentless, and one such effort is the ongoing effort to shrink the application of the Clean Water Act. I will overturn these changes and act to ensure that our rivers, wetlands, tributaries, the communities that live along them, and the animals that rely on these waters are protected.
  • Fund the development and implementation of rigorous systems of monitoring and evaluation for our biodiversity and development programs. Addressing the challenges to our environment requires data, and at the pace of how quickly animals and plants face extinction, the need is dire. We can, for the first time, understand how our policies affect everything from the insects that sustain our ecosystems to the charismatic megafauna that sustain our cultures.

3. Lead on international wildlife conservation.

The threat of climate change and other human-related actions jeopardizes hundreds of animal and plant species around the world. Meeting the collective challenges of climate change demands U.S. leadership. The most consequential act we can take is to take climate change seriously and lead. We can also implement specific policies to protect threatened wildlife and protect our environment.
  • Crack down on trophy hunting to protect elephants, lions, rhinoceroses, and other animals. Protecting these majestic animals must first start with repealing repealing the Trump administration’s NRA loopholes that allow trophy hunting and enforcing strict penalties on the domestic ivory trade. We must go further and ensure that animals in the process of receiving a designation under the Endangered Species Act are covered under anti-trophy hunting import restrictions. These policies will be accompanied by working with countries these animals live in to improve conservation efforts, fight corruption, and combat transnational criminal networks that profit from poaching by at least doubling to $20 million each year the Multinational Species Conservation Fund. I will also fully fund programs at the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development to combat wildlife trafficking.
  • Protect marine wildlife. Human activities endanger marine life, including coral, tuna, sea turtles, and whales. To protect marine wildlife, the United States must fully enforce the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act, ensuring that imported seafood was caught with equipment that meets safety standards to protect marine mammals, expand domestic bycatch prevention, and lead international efforts to protect fisheries. We must also redouble efforts to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics that pollute oceans for centuries and endanger vulnerable animals and pass the bipartisan Save Our Seas 2.0 Act that equips the United States to better clear marine debris and lead international efforts to keep our oceans clean.

4. Appoint a Secretary of the Interior with a strong record on conservation and environmentalism.

I am committed to appointing an Interior Secretary with the experience necessary to manage public lands, strengthen federal-tribal relationships, and work with urgency to combat the climate crisis.

5. Protect at least 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030.

Defending wildlife, supporting robust ecosystems, and ensuring natural resilience against the effects of climate change requires prioritization of natural lands. This must include expanding protected areas through national monument, park, and wildlife refuge designations. This also requires a collective effort by the federal, state, tribal, and local governments, as well as private landowners, to implement proactive conservation policies to protect lands, including reclaiming degraded lands, reforestation and afforestation, and integrating natural places into urban communities. Reaching this goal sets the stage to protect 50 percent of U.S. lands and oceans by 2050.
  • Fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million a year. The LWCF is an effective and popular program to support conservation of our national parks and lands, including historical sites. The Outdoor Industry Association estimates that outdoor recreational activities support over $880 billion in annual economic activity and 7.6 million jobs. Congress has chronically under-funded this program and redirected funding intended for the program to other programs. I commit to fully funding this vital program.
  • End the leasing of federal lands for fossil fuel exploration and extraction. Whether is is the Arctic Refuge in Alaska or national parks in the Rocky Mountains, we should ensure that we protect these lands, their inhabitants, and meet our environmental goals to combat climate change.
  • Require free, prior, and informed consent from tribal nations for major energy projects on federal lands that would affect those communities.
  • Restore the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments to their former size and explore additional lands and marine areas to protect as national monuments, national parks, or national wildlife refuges and protecting National Forests, especially old growth forests, from environmentally destructive activities.