Barack Obama and his family will be moving into the White House soon, with a puppy in tow. But what could an Obama presidency change about dog ownership in America?
Shortly before the election I received a chain email informing me that as a dog owner, I was obligated to vote against Obama because he would restrict my right to own dogs. The email went on to claim that all dog owners should vote Republican, making some very shaky connections between the Democratic Party and various extreme animal rights groups that favor policies which would restrict pet ownership.
I don’t think Barack Obama is likely to come knocking on my door to tell me that I’m no longer permitted to own a dog, but an Obama presidency might mean some changes for pet owners in America. Here are a few things I think might be possible during Obama’s administration:
- Closing the Slaughter Loophole– Currently, the slaughter of horses for human consumption is banned in the United States. However, horses can be shipped to Canada or Mexico for the same purpose. This loophole means that many horses suffer not only a cruel death in slaughterhouses designed for cattle, but also a 12+ hour trailer ride beforehand. With Democrats now controlling the Presidency, Senate, and Congress, I think it’s likely that someone will introduce a bill to ban this type of transport for slaughter, closing the loophole that’s caused horses to suffer.
- Puppy Lemon Laws– As a puppy owner to be, Barack Obama has a personal reason to advocate for stricter protections against the sale of sick puppies or puppies with genetic illnesses. Could a federal puppy lemon law be possible? On the one hand, Barack Obama and the Democratic Party tend to favor protecting consumers wherever possible; on the other hand, Obama has shown a preference for leaving some social issues up to the individual states, many of which already have stricter puppy lemon laws than would be likely to pass on a federal level.
- Cruelty to Animals– I think possibly the most likely pet-related reform during an Obama administration would be a measure increasing penalties for cruelty to animals. Many states have already passed laws making the abuse of animals a felony, and imposing high fines or mandatory jail time for repeat offenders. The time may now be ripe for a federal law increasing penalties for cruelty to animals.
What do you think? Are there any pet-related changes you expect during the Obama administration? What would you like to see Barack Obama do for pets and their owners? He’s soliciting suggestions at http://www.change.gov, but before you scurry over there to put your two cents in, leave a comment here!