When a cause becomes so popular that politicians begin to incorporate promises about it into their campaign platform, that cause has arrived. When that politician is a candidate for the President of the United States — such as Julián Castro who is promising the creation of a No Kill nation as part of his wider animal welfare platform — we have truly become a potent force for change.

As part of a 19-page plan that also calls for the banning of animal testing for cosmetics, giving animals more room on factory farms, strengthening protections for horses and endangered species, making animal cruelty a federal crime, and more, Castro, a Democrat from Texas, has promised that were he to be elected President, he would enact policies and spend $40 million to end killing in U.S. “shelters” by promoting adoption, allowing pets and banning breed discrimination in federally-subsidized housing, targeting commercial breeding facilities, and funding spay/neuter, including community cat sterilization.

Castro gets some of the information wrong (such as calling Delaware and San Antonio No Kill and focusing on conservation, instead of individual rights), but he’s clearly paying attention. His Animal Welfare Plan is near and dear to most people’s hearts, regardless of political affiliation and just may be the only true bipartisan issue left in the nation.

The vast majority of Americans say we have a moral duty to protect animals and should have strong laws to do so, while three out of four Americans believe it should be illegal for “shelters” to kill healthy and treatable animals.

Of course, some of his plan calls into question his timing. For example, why didn’t he enact some of these policies — like forcing federally-funded homeless shelters and low-income housing to allow pets or prohibiting the latter from banning dogs based on alleged breed — when he was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development?

But given his longshot candidacy, the specifics right now are less important to this cynical Gen-Xer, than the fact that regardless of whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or swing voter, that kind of talk from a candidate for the nation’s highest political office is a watershed moment for the No Kill movement.

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