Where Our 2016 Presidential Hopefuls Stand on Veterinary Issues

presidential candidate articleIf you’re wondering how Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump might vote on animal-welfare and veterinary-practice issues the AVMA considers critical, this article will help give you a better idea.

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve most likely been seeing presidential campaign ads and hearinhg a lot of campaign news these days. Here’s a quick rundown: Hilary Clinton is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Bernie Sanders is also in the running for the Democratic nomination. The Republican frontrunner is private-sector millionaire Donald Trump, but Ted Cruz is also still considered a possibility for the Republican presidential nomination as well. While there are other candidates, these are the major players to date.

Would They Fight Animal Cruelty?

Rep. Lamar Smith (R) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R) introduced Bill 2293 (Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act) in May 2015. This bill would amend federal crime codes to prohibit engaging in conduct in which an animal is intentionally and seriously injured.

Where do our presidential hopefuls fall on this issue?

  • Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would likely support this bill, given their voting record on animal-welfare issues.
  • In an exclusive interview with animal-rights blogger Andrew Kirschner, Donald Trump said he would be “the best president for animals God ever created.”
  • Ted Cruz has no public stance on animal cruelty and was supposedly involved in a social media scandal involving him posing with a tiger pelt.

Would They Tackle Veterinary Student Debt?

There is two bills currently bouncing around Congress that try to tackle the issue of high college student loan debt, which is especially tough for veterinary school graduates with sharp debt-to-income ratios.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R) introduced The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act in February 2015; and it was introduced again by Rep. Adrian Smith (R) in July 2015. This act would provide loan repayment and tax reductions for veterinarians who agree to practice in specific areas of need throughout the country.

A number of Democratic representatives introduced The Student Loan Refinancing Act and Student Loan Interest Deduction Act. This act would remove restrictions on refinancing federal student loans and expand tax deductions on student loan interest. The AVMA is actively lobbying in Washington, D.C., for this one.

It’s difficult to say how the presidential candidates would respond to this one because of mixed-party support for bills like these. But let’s try!

  • Hillary Clinton would most likely be in favor, given her proposal of the New College Compact to reduce interest rates for student loans.
  • Bernie Sanders would likely be in favor too, as he publicly promoted the idea of making public colleges and universities free and cutting student loan interest rates.
  • Donald Trump has publicly criticized the fact that the federal government makes money on student loans.
  • Last year, Ted Cruz voted to block a bill that would have allowed people to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates.

Would They Support Mandatory Prescriptions?

Two Democratic senators and one Republican senator introduced The Fairness to Pet Owners Act in May 2015 which would require veterinarians to provide a written prescription to all clients to fill anywhere, whether those clients want one or not. This bill was introduced again in July 2015 by Republican Rep. Jason Caffetz (R). The AVMA is fighting this bill.

Because of bipartisan support, any of the presidential hopefuls might champion the bill despite its potentially adverse effect on veterinarians.

Of course, with so many issues, viewpoints and priorities, the choice for president is much broader than each candidate’s likelihood to vote the way us veterinarians would hope. And we are a pretty diverse group ourselves.


It is important to stay aware of issues affecting animals, veterinary medicine and veterinary business—and doing your part to ensure all your elected representatives know how you feel. Contact All Pets Veterinary Medical Center with the link below for more information!

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