Former San Antonio Mayor and Presidential candidate Julian Castro came to San Antonio's Animal Defense League last night to announce what he said was the first animal rights plank ever to be included in the campaign of a major part candidate for President, News Radio 1200 WOAI.
Castro also tweeted this morning that he has qualified for the critical third debate, set for Texas Southern University in Houston next month, by receiving 2% in the latest CNN poll.
Called the PAW Plan, for Protecting Animals and Wildlife,' Castro said his plan would ban the euthanasia of healthy dogs and cats in municipal animal shelters.
"Instead, we would invest in a national program to spay and neuter animals," Castro said.
He said several states are already taking action.
"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."
He also cited votes in several states to end cruelty in the raising of chickens and ranch animals.
He would make cruelty to animals a federal offense.
"It is timely because it reflects a growing sentiment in the United States that we should be protecting animals and wildlife," Castro said.
He said his proposal would also end the slaughter of horses for human food, ban doping, and end what is called 'soring,' the manipulation of a horse's bones to affect its gait. He called horsed 'beautiful, intelligent, and noble animals.'
He says his 'PAW-licy' would also strengthen the Endangered Species Act, and would ban trophy hunting and end the plastic pollution that he says if unchecked, will weigh 'more than all the fish in the sea' by 2050.
"My hope is that my children and your children will grow up being able to appreciate the same majesty in the animal world around us," Castro said.
Castro vowed to protect 'at least thirty percent' of our nation's lands as President, through declarations of national parks, monuments, and wildlife refuges. Castro's plan comes at a time when the Trump Administration has announced plans to water down the ESA, and has moved to delist several National Parks and Monuments and open them up to oil drilling and other exploitation.
Castro says nearly one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction, according to United Nations estimates.
"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, he said.