Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro speaks at the Young Leaders Conference 2019 in Georgia on Aug. 16. Photo: Paras Griffin/WireImage

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro announced Monday a comprehensive animal welfare plan that would seek to strengthen the Endangered Species Act, which has just been weakened by President Trump's administration.

Why it matters: Castro is the first 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to release a plan for animal welfare with his "PAW Plan" (Protecting Animals and Wildlife.").

Details

Euthanasia of healthy dogs and cats in shelters would be outlawed if Castro were elected president in 2020. And the former Housing and Urban Development secretary has pledged to improve federal housing policy relating to pets. Other initiatives:

Cruelty to animals would become a federal crime and the testing of cosmetics on animals would be banned.

Wildlife conservation initiatives include a crackdown on trophy hunting to protect animals including elephants, lions and rhinoceroses. Castro plans to end the import of big-game trophies — which NBC News notes is a favorite past-time of the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

"Protecting these majestic animals must first start with repealing the Trump administration’s NRA loopholes that allow trophy hunting and enforcing strict penalties on the domestic ivory trade. We must go further and ensure that animals in the process of receiving a designation under the Endangered Species Act are covered under anti-trophy hunting import restrictions."
— Castro's election pledge

A $2 billion per year National Wildlife Recovery Fund would be introduced for state and tribal governments, to protect, maintain, and strengthen wildlife populations.

Animal welfare standards in factory farms would be improved and the unlicensed private ownership of big cats, such as lions and tigers, would be banned.

A $40 million Local Animal Communities grant program would be created to expand spaying, neutering and vaccinations for low-income pet owners.

The use of federal land for fossil fuel exploration would be outlawed, Castro said, as he pledged to clean up "Trump's environmental disaster" — accusing the president of "privatizing public land to appease big oil and gas corporations at the expense of conservation and preservation."

"Trump values profits over people, individual fortunes over our collective future, and he is the most anti-animal president in our history."

Go deeper: Julián Castro on the issues, in under 500 words

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Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Where key GOP senators stand on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters on Capitol Hill last Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With President Trump planning to nominate his third Supreme Court justice nominee this week, key Republican senators are indicating their stance on replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with less than 50 days until Election Day.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has vowed that "Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." Two GOP senators — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — have said they oppose holding a vote before the election, meaning that two more defections would force McConnell to delay until at least the lame-duck session of Congress.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 30,873,714 — Total deaths: 958,383— Total recoveries: 21,103,559Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 6,788,343 — Total deaths: 199,421 — Total recoveries: 2,577,446 — Total tests: 94,211,463Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Biden to Senate GOP after RBG passing: "Please follow your conscience"

Joe Biden made a direct appeal to Senate Republicans in a speech addressing the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, urging them to "cool the flames that have been engulfing our country" by waiting to confirm her replacement until after the election.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said soon after the news of Ginsburg's death that President Trump's nominee would get a vote on the Senate floor.