"First Dog Elect" is Set to Make History
After their first absence in a century, dogs are due to return to the White House — and one of them is very special indeed. After starting life as a homeless dog, Major will be the first dog rescued from a shelter to ever live at the presidential mansion. His arrival brings hope for what may be in store for other animals.
President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden adopted Major, a German Shepherd, from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018 after fostering him for months. Biden reportedly wanted a younger dog to keep his older German Shepherd, Champ, company and keep him active. The Bidens reached out after hearing about a litter of puppies in need from their daughter, who saw them on a social media post.
While these two beautiful dogs are joining a long list of presidential companions who have lived on White House grounds, we hope the Bidens’ love for them will extend to other animals we share this Earth with.
In the past four years, animals and the environment have faced some of their biggest challenges ever. More than 100 laws and regulations on environmental pollution were weakened or undone, including the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.
While some good was done with the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, access was entirely blocked to crucial inspection records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Citations for violations under the Animal Welfare Act notably declined for zoos, labs, commercial breeders, and other animal-exploiting facilities. Slaughter lines were sped up for pigs, taking one of the few pathetic protections they had. Chimpanzees who had been used in biomedical research were delayed from retiring to a sanctuary. An attempt to deny protection to migratory birds was attempted, but thankfully a court overturned it.
The Endangered Species Act was weakened, making it harder to protect endangered and threatened animals, and more imperiled species were put at risk by a border wall. Trophy hunting imports of lions and elephants from Zambia and Zimbabwe were allowed to resume, and a ban on wickedly cruel hunting practices in Alaska was overturned. As a final blow against animals, the Trump administration stripped gray wolves of desperately-needed federal protection.
The new administration has a positive track record on animals, but it could take years to give back to animals the protections they deserve. We still need all Congressmembers to unify and support progressive policies that will tackle climate change, and protect our environment and the animals who call it home — and reject special interests that are always at play.
We’ll be working hard to unite the country to support changes that protect wild spaces and promote respect and protection for animals who are wild as well as those who are our companions, in addition to encouraging and helping people shift to sustainable plant-based diets.
You can support our mission and be part of the solution by making a donation, and learning how you can Take Action for animals now — there isn’t a moment to waste!