Standing Up For Animal Welfare
Animal welfare issues speak to our humanity and our capacity to care for other living beings. During my tenure as Chief of Staff to Mayor Marty Walsh, we passed several initiatives to improve animal welfare, such as reforming the animal control department and investigating corrupt animal shelters. I am proud of the progress we made, and I am committed to continue to work on animal rights.
In Congress, I won’t be afraid to stand up for animal protection and welfare. I support:
- Safeguarding animal wildlife populations
- Strengthening farm animal protection regulations
- Improving pet welfare and ending animal cruelty
- Supporting companion animals and their owners
1. Safeguarding animal wildlife populations
While our country has made substantial progress on establishing regulations and protecting our wildlife, the Trump Administration’s calls to reverse decades of wildlife regulations are alarming and destructive. With the increased effects of climate change, our planet’s wildlife populations are in clear danger. We must fight any attempts to reverse current regulations and continue to expand efforts to protect our environment for future generations. I support:
- Increasing protections and habitat areas for the North Atlantic Right Whale and other marine mammals. The North Atlantic Right Whale is one of the many beautiful animals that calls the waters off Massachusetts home. However, less than 350 of the whales are alive today, with fishing entanglements, vessel collisions, habitat loss, and pollution continually threatening the species. We need to protect these animals – that’s why I support efforts to increase the federally defined critical habitat area for the North Atlantic Right Whale, and I support improved regulations and requirements for commercial shipping companies in their boating practices.
- Ending the shark finning practice and industry. Shark finning is a cruel industry in which tens of millions of sharks are killed each year for their fins. Sharks are an essential part of our oceans’ ecosystems, and we must fight to put an end to their unnecessary deaths. I support the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act which would ban the possession and sales of shark fin product.
- Banning the import of sport-hunted large-game trophies. With the Trump Administration’s move to reverse Obama-era bans on large-game trophies, the fight to protect our wildlife is all the more imperative. At a time when we should be seeking to restore endangered species’ populations, the actions taken by the Trump administration to lessen trophy importation guidelines are appalling. I oppose any efforts to repeal the import ban, and I will stand up to any action that would encourage the shooting of threatened species in other countries.
- Maintaining wildlife conservation efforts. We need to strengthen local wildlife conservation efforts and safeguard endangered habitats around the world. That’s why I support continued funding for legislation like the the Marine Turtle Conservation Act, and I support local efforts to prevent circuses from using wild animals. Additionally, I strongly support the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which will bolster conservation initiatives and help safeguard vulnerable animal populations.
2. Strengthening farm animal protection regulations
Farm animals deserve to be treated and raised in a humane manner. I believe that treating farm animals in humane ways not only results in healthier and safer food sources, but also reflects our common compassion. I support:
- Revising humane methods specifications. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act requires livestock to be insusceptible to pain before slaughtering. However, the legislation does not extend to chickens, turkeys, and other birds, and, as a result, many of these animals suffer painful deaths during the slaughter process. I support efforts to revise the Humane Methods Act to include poultry and put an end to this unnecessary animal pain.
- Enforcing requirements for organic production. We need to guarantee important protections such as minimum space levels for animals, and ban tail docking and de-beaking. The Trump Administration’s recent attempts to remove existing regulations is shameful, and I will fight to defend agricultural regulations that protect our animals from unnecessary cruelty.
Ending the practice of horse slaughter. Tens of thousands of American horses are transported across borders to be slaughtered annually for consumption. I support proposals to prohibit the export of horses for slaughter.
3. Improving pet welfare and ending animal cruelty
Pets are valuable members of our families. How we care for our pets and animals reveals our ability to care compassionately. From bringing attention to animal safety during winter and hot summer months to fixing the broken animal control department, during my time as Chief of Staff to Mayor Marty Walsh, we made animal welfare a top priority, and I’ll continue to fight for animal protection in Congress. I support:
- Upgrading the federal care standards for dogs and ensuring stricter licensing. Dogs should have humane living conditions, and moves such as prohibiting cage stacking are important steps towards improving animal welfare. In Congress, I would advocate for legislation revising USDA standards to include better treatment and care of dogs. Furthermore, USDA licensing must be stricter; it’s wrong that puppy dealers who repeatedly harm animals and have suspended licenses can still own animals through current loopholes. I support legislation to close these loopholes.
- Banning animal cruelty at the federal level. Simply put, animal abuse should never be tolerated. That’s why I support H.R. 1494, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act.
Ending cruel and inhumane animal testing. Everything from cosmetics to agricultural research is tested first on animals despite evidence that non-animal tested alternatives are safer and more beneficial for humans. Animals shouldn’t have to face horrifying cruelty, especially when there are better alternatives. I support legislation that would help end cruel and inhumane animal testing, like the Humane Cosmetics Act and the Animal Welfare in Agricultural Research Endeavors Act.
4. Supporting companion animals and their owners
Pets provide crucial companionship, comfort, and support for owners, especially for those suffering from psychological trauma and mental health issues. That’s why, if elected to Congress, I’ll be committed to expanding access to companion animals. I support:
- Providing wounded veterans with service animals. Too many of our service members struggle with traumatic, and often invisible, mental health issues. We have to do everything we can to address the specific mental health needs our veterans have. Service dogs can greatly help alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, which is why I strongly support the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers Act to help provide veterans with service animals.
Ensuring safe situations for domestic abuse victims and their pets. All too often, victims of domestic abuse suffer emotional and psychological trauma due to threats of violence, not only against themselves, but also against their pets. Furthermore, their pets can be their only source of comfort. No one should have to decide between seeking help and keeping their pet. That’s why I support the Pet and Women Safety Act, which would help increase funding dedicated to ensuring safe situations for domestic abuse victims and their pets.