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Does Donald Trump Favor Animal Welfare & Animal Rights?
08/02/2017 Animal Welfare Benjamin R
keywords: Animal Welfare Trump Favor Animal Welfare Animal Rights

Until he took over as President of the United States, Donald Trump had no exposure to public office whatsoever which is why he truly understands the private sector. Trump had trumped (pun intended) the corporate world for decades and was known for his amazing business acumen but little or perhaps nothing was known about his love for animals or wildlife for that matter.

A website however, published a photograph of Trump cradling a cute Beagle and looking at it lovingly. The dog had won the first prize at the West Minister Kennel Club Dog Show last year. Is one photograph enough to show Trump’s affection for animals? Probably yes.   

Even though it is difficult to immediately predict what Trump’s stand on policies related to animal welfare and issues pertaining to animal rights would be, it was noted that as he ran for office, he had publicly and vocally opposed policies that impacted animals and the environment negatively.

Illegal Wildlife Trade

The previous administration under President Obama had taken up the issue of combating illegal wildlife trade but since poaching still took place all over the world and the Obama team was unwilling to get their hand’s dirty, animals were still being slaughtered (China has been destroying animals all over Africa for centuries and no one has ever said anything about this!). The special task force that was constituted to address this problem will continue to function to ensure that all ongoing efforts to eliminate wildlife trafficking at the international level will continue under President Trump’s administration as well but until poachers are dealt with properly and some ships are confiscated, the problem will continue.

This has been confirmed by the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance, which was formed with representatives from both businesses and NGOs as a White House initiative. It’s known as the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking.

The new administration, feel most wildlife activists, appreciates the seriousness of this global crisis. It has also been mentioned that when Trump was the owner of Atlantic City’s Steel Pier, he actively took up the issue of canceling a horse-diving act, considered inhumane by many. Moreover, he is also known to have publicly said that even though he supports his sons’ trophy hunting habits, he doesn’t really understand their actual motive in indulging in this gruesome hobby.

Legal Measures

Trump is also known to have convinced his fellow party members to support the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act which has already been passed by the Congress. This makes it easier for the authorities to prosecute wildlife crimes within US national boundaries, directs federal agencies to aid under-resourced countries where wildlife crimes like poaching and trafficking are rampant and mandates that the Presidential task force should continue to function in the new regime.

The task force is committed to preventing illegal slaughter of elephants, rhinos, and also other endangered species and to permanently stop wildlife trafficking. Trump’s fellow Republicans are said to have promised to back him on these issues just like they are backing him in trying to dump Obamacare and to lower taxes so America can finally escape the Barney Frank/Alan Greenspan 2008 recession. Moreover, wildlife trafficking is most likely to garner Trump’s interest as some of the biggest names in business like JetBlue, Google, and Ralph Lauren, to name a few, have pledged their help to combat the issue as well.

Another issue that has gone in favor of Trump is his promise to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which some believe will do much damage by way of promoting industries that damage and/or destroy critical habitat. This is in spite of pledging itself to stop illegal wildlife trading.

Moreover, he is expected to support the following during his tenure as President:

  • Endorsing the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, which has been supported by more than two hundred agencies for law enforcement across the US. This is believed to be the primary item on Trump’s agenda for animal protection and the prevention of cruelty.
  • Supporting the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act that will ban deliberately injuring horse hooves to enhance their performance in races; and amending the Humane Cosmetics Act while also aligning businesses and animal welfare groups to lend their support to the cause.
  • Implementing and enforcing the Pet and Women’s Safety Act that regulates domestic violence on animals, women, and children. The act provides federal help to be given to women’s shelters for animal care. This would enable women to take their pets with them as they flee or get out of dangerous and harmful relationships. The Act will be a boon for numerous domestic violence victims who fear harm to their pets left behind.

The Warming Planet and Trump’s Stand

On numerous occasions, Trump has repeatedly questioned the effects of climate change and its threat to animals. He is aware that polar bears are starving because sea ice is rapidly melting; sea turtles are unable to reproduce due to rapidly fluctuating temperatures at their nesting sites; and African elephants are being reduced to skeletons because of severe droughts being brought about by climate change. But is this not completely natural? Science has proven that earth’s temperature fluctuates – it is not constant.

The US Department of Agriculture is empowered to enforce federal laws pertaining to animal slaughtering, horse soring, and animal fighting and also animal care. This is applicable to numerous puppy mills, circuses, research laboratories, and roadside zoos. Since 2011, the agency took some great steps to prevent veal calves and downer cows from being slaughtered, strengthened enforcement of the Horse Protection Act; banned puppy imports from foreign sources, and implemented inspection and licensing for puppy sellers on the Internet.

Moreover, it has also been active in improving disaster management facilities for animals; and in restricting the public exhibition of tiger cubs. This is going to continue in the present administration and proves Trump’s support for animals.

What lies in store?

The Trump administration should enact strong regulations for fortifying humane standards in dog care, particularly in commercial canine breeding. Puppy mills have been known to be notorious in their treatment of dogs and the average American must be tutored and convinced to boycott dog breeders who by law, are still enabled to keep dogs in wire cages. That is disgusting.  

Trump could pass and support the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act to be extended to the country’s poultry industry as well. Most Americans have no idea that federal protections for 95% of animals in slaughterhouses don’t exist. Yet their carcasses are USDA certified for human consumption. But if this increases food prices and forces unnecessary regulations on this industry this may not be supported by Trump. We all know Americans have been getting blasted with high taxes and high health care costs because of the horrendous ACA law so all of this needs to be taken into account.

Moreover, the ban on trading in ivory, which was implemented by the preceding administration, needs to kept in force because some poachers have sold ivory to back terrorist activities and because killing an animal for its ivory is terrible and unethical. It is expected that the rules adopted to stop the shooting of grizzly bears and wolves, grizzly trapping and other inhumane hunting practices on federal land will continue to be implemented and enforced. This is more so since this land was particularly set aside to protect certain endangered species.

In a recent interview, Trump has said that he would be supporting an initiative that requires restaurants and grocery stores to play videos of slaughterhouse activities so that meat consumers can see what actually happens there. Furthermore, during his student days at Wharton, he had even sneaked into fox farms to free them. That perhaps suggests that there’s a bit of an animal lover in him waiting to unleash good on these hapless creatures.

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