Julián for the Future
For Immediate Release: Monday, August 19, 2019
Contact: Sawyer Hackett

Julián Castro Releases the “PAW (Protecting Animals and Wildlife)” Plan

A new groundbreaking platform to advance the welfare of animals around the globe

SAN ANTONIO, TX (August 19, 2019) – On Monday, August 19, presidential candidate, former Obama Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Julián Castro, became the first candidate in the 2020 presidential field to unveil a platform focused on advancing the welfare of animals around the globe, both domestic and wild, raising standards for factory farms, encouraging conservation efforts, including an expansion of U.S. protected lands to 30 percent by 2030 with the goal of 50 percent by 2050.
The “PAW (Protecting Animals and Wildlife) Plan”, released via Medium on Monday, proposes making animal abuse a federal crime, ending the killing of domestic dogs and cats for population control, strengthening the Endangered Species Act, creating a $2 billion National Wildlife Recovery Fund to protect wildlife populations, banning the use of federal lands for fossil fuel exploration and extraction, and eliminating the import of big-game trophies.

“The president does not care about animals and his cruel actions prove it. He has put corporate profits over living creatures and individual fortunes over our future,” said Secretary Julián Castro. “This groundbreaking plan will improve the treatment of animals around the country and the world, and undo Donald Trump’s damage.”

This evening at 6:00 PM CST, the Castro family will visit the Animal Defense League of Texas in San Antonio.
The PAW Plan can be viewed here and below:
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 dog breeders and close loopholes in enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. Dog 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 dog breeders, including information identifying the breeder, and require pet stores to provide customers with reports on the conditions of the dog breeders.
  • Raise minimum comfort standards for dogs 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 dog 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
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.
  1. 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 to ensure that our rivers, wetlands, tributaries, and the communities and animals who live by them 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.
  1. 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. We must take human accelerate climate change seriously and implement specific policies to protect threatened wildlife and 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 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
Please consider rescuing an animal:

About Secretary Julián Castro
Julián Castro served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama from 2014-2017. Before that, he was Mayor of his native San Antonio, Texas — the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American city at the time. In 2012, he gave a rousing keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, during which he described the American Dream as a relay to be passed from generation to generation. In 2018, Castro founded Opportunity First, an organization to invest in the next generation of progressive leaders. In October 2018, Little, Brown published Castro’s memoir, An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream. On January 12, 2019, Secretary Castro announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Follow Julián Castro on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. JulianfortheFuture.com and Julianparaelfuturo.com.