Julián Castro Unleashes Comprehensive Animal Welfare Plan

By Claudia Kawczynska, August 2019, Updated June 2021
Images via Julián Castro campaign website

Images via Julián Castro campaign website

Julián Castro, a Democrat running for president, just unleashed the most ambitious and visionary animal welfare plan coming from anyone running for political office, ever.

His plan centers around making the U.S. a “no kill” nation and calls for ending euthanasia of all domestic dogs and cats in shelters.  It also calls for improving federal housing policy for people with pets, a subject that this former Housing and Urban development secretary is well familiar with. Also, very importantly, he wants to prohibit the testing of cosmetic products on animals, and will make animal cruelty a federal crime and establish minimum spaces for farm animals.

His plan, “PAW: Protecting Animals and Wildlife,” is wide-ranging and comprehensive in scope and offers ideas on how best to achieve of the “no kill” goal that includes the setting up of a $40 million federal funding for a “Local Animal Communities Grant Program” to promote adoptions and paying for the costs of spaying and neutering, and vaccinations. He also wants to implement  “pet-friendly, breed-neutral policies in federally-supported affordable housing construction and military housing,” as well as working to ensure that the homeless will not have to relinquish their animals when seeking refuge at a homeless shelter.

The plan also has a several provisions to deal specifically with puppy mills, including strengthening oversight and enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act, so breeders (aka puppy mills) must commit to “minimum animal welfare standards” to obtain licensing. See the full plan here.


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Such a courageous and expansive humane vision from a presidential candidate is mindboggling and inspiring, and it will be interesting to see what others, from both sides of the political spectrum, have to say about it. It should be noted that Delaware, Biden’s home state, recently announced that it will be the first state to become a no-kill state.

So let’s hope that Castro shining a light on these important animal welfare issues and bringing it to the national stage will inspire others to give it the attention it deserves.