Green Party Nominee Joseph Diaferia (NY-16) has announced a proposal for a comprehensive animal rights bill. In a press release issued on October 17, 2012, Diaferia is calling for dramatic increases in federal funding for municipal animal shelters, with a view to ending the practice of systematic euthanasia. Said Diaferia, “Animals should only be euthanized when they are found to be gravely ill and not simply because there are ‘too many’ of them.”

More ambitious, however, is Diaferia’s call for a prohibition against banning pets from publicly funded housing. Under such a proposal, residents of federally subsidized housing units could not be prohibited from owning pets. In addition, Diaferia—whose pet ownership at one time numbered in double digits—is proposing a federal law enabling public and private animal shelters to file official declarations of crises with the federal government when faced with overcrowding. Such a declaration would make illegal the banning of pets from cooperative apartments, condominia, and rental apartments within a 50 mile radius until the federal government and the affected animal shelter have determined that the overcrowding crisis has passed.

Diaferia explained, “Under my ‘Crisis Declaration’ proposal, if say—the Yonkers Animal Shelter were to file such a declaration with the federal government, any landlord or board of directors of condo or coop development within 50 miles that continued to ban pets, would be in violation of federal law. And if, for example, Yonkers and Pets Alive in Elmsford were to have declarations on file simultaneously, overlapping 50 mile radii would be affected.”
Diaferia is proposing the creation of an Animal Rights Bureau of the U.S. Justice Department to oversee and enforce all matters relating to animals rights and welfare. Said Bureau would be the federal agency with which all “Crisis Declarations” would be filed.

Finally, Diaferia is proposing federal income tax deductions for those who own pets, providing that owners submit annual documentation that their pets are being cared for diligently and conscientiously. Reductions would be available to pet owners for the entire lives of their pets.

When asked if he supports the systematic spaying and neutering of pets in order to prevent overpopulation, Diaferia replied, “I don’t know if I’m entirely comfortable with that. I understand the wisdom of spaying and neutering on the one hand, but on the other hand I have always deplored initiatives, such as Henry Kissinger’s National Security Memorandum 200, that have been intended to reduce human population. So I’m not sure I want to advocate for animals what I have long opposed for humans. Nevertheless, I would obtain input from animal rights activists before taking a more definitive stand on this particular matter.”

Diaferia’s proposed animal rights bill also calls for:

A federal ban on entertainment that causes pain to animals.
A federal ban of the fur trade.
Greater inclusion and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act.
A federal ban on animal experimentation for product development, and more intense scrutiny and limitation the use of animals in scientific and medical research.
A federal ban on factory farming practices of overcrowding, drugging, and otherwise cruelly treating animals.

Diaferia believes that violations of his proposed animal rights package should be punished with mandatory federal prison terms.

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