Animal Protection

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 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, wildlife trafficking, 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. 

Agriculture policy 

I supported 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 have strongly opposed efforts by Iowa Congressman Steve King to subvert state animal welfare and food safety laws through free-standing legislation he has introduced.  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 should catch up to the food retail sector on animal welfare and signal to farmers that they should be investing in more humane and extensive production systems.

I would revive the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Final Rule to strengthen and clarify animal welfare standards to protect the integrity of the organic label. The USDA rule clarified the requirement that animals cannot be tightly confined and set minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for egg-laying chickens. The rule would have kept thousands of farmers on the land by giving them a value-added opportunity to connect to consumers who expect organic producers to adhere to higher animal welfare standards.

I support efforts to phase out the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in animal agriculture.  This is a threat to the health of animals and to people. Medical professionals believe that the overuse of antibiotics is rendering ineffectual whole classes of life-saving antibiotics for humans.  

I support efforts to promote more plant-based offerings eating 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.

Eliminating Animal Cruelty 

I 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 want to see proper implementation of 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, and it should be properly funded. 

I’m strongly opposed to testing cosmetics on live animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, and mice. These tests are not only cruel and unethical, but are unnecessary and unhelpful, given that there are alternatives to animal testing in the cosmetics industry. I support similar transitions for testing in the chemical, pesticide, and pharmaceutical industries. 

I want our Congress and country to set an example for other nations by stopping the domestic slaughter, trade and import of dogs and cats for human consumption. I will vigorously enforce the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act.

Compassion for Horses 

The vast majority of Americans are opposed to horse slaughter, yet it still exists in societies today. Therefore, I support the enactment of the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE) to prevent the transport and export of U.S. horses to slaughter for human consumption. 

 I also want to see the enactment of 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. 

With so many horses dying at Santa Anita Race Track in Los Angeles County, it’s clear that something is amiss in horse racing.  At the very least, we need to stop race-day doping of horses in competition.

Preserving Wildlife

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.  The Trump Administration has worked to unravel rules to protect wolves and bears on lands set aside specifically for wildlife.

As President, I will forbid any imports of trophies or other animal parts 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 favor enactment of the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act and the Bear Protection Act, to halt the trade in shark fins and bear gall bladders. We must keep these animals alive for their own sake and for the health of our rural economies. Wildlife watching are massive and vital job-producing industries, and they depend on the viability and presence of animals in natural areas.

Reforming our federal agencies

I oppose the large-scale poisoning, trapping, and aerial gunning of wildlife conducted by the 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. California, Oregon, and Washington forbid them. The poisons are cruel and indiscriminate and should be outlawed everywhere.

I would ban the use of lead ammunition on all federal lands. All of these agencies have a statutory duty to protect and conserve wildlife on their lands; allowing mass poisoning of animals is inconsistent with those imperatives. 

I would also stop 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 BLM must more broadly implement on-the-ground contraception programs, with 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.

It’s important to reorganize government where it makes sense.  We should shift Animal Welfare Act enforcement from the USDA and move it to an agency, such as the Department of Justice, placing the responsibility for enforcement of animal welfare laws without conflicts with other key agency stakeholders.

The USDA Wildlife Services program, which spends the bulk of its dollars killing wildlife, would be better placed in the Department of the Interior, which has expertise on wildlife issues.  USDA typically sees wildlife through a narrow lens, treating animals as a threat to agriculture. The Interior Department would oversee a program that provides primarily non-lethal solutions to human-wildlife conflicts, using innovation and human ingenuity to produce a set of positive outcomes.

Finally, 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.

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