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Julián Castro introduces animal welfare plan to 'undo Donald Trump’s damage'

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WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro announced a comprehensive animal welfare proposal on Monday that would work to end euthanizing domestic dogs and cats, make animal abuse a federal crime and respond to President Donald Trump’s recent overhaul of the Endangered Species Act.

Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Obama and former San Antonio mayor, said in a statement that his proposal, the Protecting Animals and Wildlife — or PAW — Plan, will “improve the treatment of animals around the country and the world, and undo Donald Trump’s damage.”

“The president does not care about animals and his cruel actions prove it,” Castro also said in the statement. “He has put corporate profits over living creatures and individual fortunes over our future.”

More: Here are some of the USA’s most endangered species

The plan comes a week after the Trump administration announced that it would reduce regulations relating to the Endangered Species Act, including changes that end blanket protections for animals newly deemed threatened and allow federal authorities for the first time to take into account the economic cost of protecting a particular species.

Environmentalists criticized the administration’s move, saying the changes would push more animals and plants to extinction.

Castro’s plan also follows a viral movement called “Clear the Shelters.” Hundreds of shelters across the nation held a nationwide pet adoption drive Saturday. Hours after announcing his plan, Castro visited the Animal Defense League of Texas in San Antonio, which is a no-kill shelter. That shelter participated in the “Clear the Shelters” adoption drive.

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Tiger
Status: Endangered
Population: 2,154-3,159
Geographic range: Tigers breed in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia and Thailand
Habitat: Shrubland, forest, grassland
Threats: Poaching of tigers for their skins, bones, meat and tonics is the greatest threat to the species, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
John Ballance, The Advocate via AP

  • epa07613103 A handout photo made available by the Lincoln Park Zoo on 30 May 2019 shows a healthy male eastern black rhinoceros calf (R) that was birthed by 13 year old Kapuki (L) at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on 19 May 2019. Since the birth, the calf has surpassed critical milestones including standing, nursing, pooping, and following Kapuki. Lincoln Park Zoo is dedicated to rhino conservation and is home to three adult rhinos, Maku, Kapuki, and Ricko, along with its newest arrival.  EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHER BIJALBA / LINCOLN PARK ZOO / HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES ORG XMIT: THM011 of 8
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The 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful also wants to implement pet-friendly policies in federally-supported affordable housing and military housing, as well as work with homeless shelters that receive federal funds to allow individuals with pets to seek refuge rather than being turned away..

The PAW Plan also touches on endangered species and would reverse Trump’s changes to implementation of the Endangered Species Act. Castro also wants to establish a $2 billion National Wildlife Recovery Fund. One part of the plan would also crack down on trophy hunting — a well-known hobby of the president’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr.

“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,” Castro’s plan declares.

Contributing: Doyle Rice

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“To think that this dog who never had anyone care for her, now has a community of folks looking after her is nothing short of amazing.”
Time

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