Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro called for an end to euthanization at animal shelters in a plan he released Monday focusing on improving the welfare of both domestic and wild animals.
The plan -- dubbed Protecting Animals and Wildlife, or PAWS -- seeks to reform the U.S. animal shelter system while also restoring and expanding protections for endangered species and their habitats.
Castro pledges to end the practice of euthanizing domestic dogs and cats for population control by addressing resources to address the causes of stray populations and expanding access to spaying and neutering services with a $40 million grant program to promote animal adoption.
His plan would also seek to hold puppy mills accountable, make animal abuse a federal crime and raise standards for factory farms.
"Our plan to advance animal welfare is not only the right thing to do, but will improve people's lives through responsible pet ownership and a more sustainable agricultural system," Castro said.
PAWS calls for a strengthening of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which the U.S. Interior Department altered last week to allow the government to consider economic factors when determining which species to guard and to limit how far in the future it considers when determining whether a species will become threatened or extinct.
Castro also pledged to create a $2 billion National Wildlife Recovery fund with the goal of protecting more than 30 percent of America's lands and oceans for wildlife preservation with a goal of protecting 50 percent by 2050.