New petition aims to expand food stamps to include pet food


new petition aims to convince the federal government to modify food stamp rules so that low-income people are allowed to use them to purchase food for their pets, WGN-TV reports.

So far, the petition has garnered the signatures of more than 80,000 people and has gained the support of several animal welfare organizations, according to the Sacramento Bee. Advocates say expanding food stamps in such a way could keep thousands of animals out of shelters and make them the only government program that helps low-income people care for their pets.

>> Read more trending news 

“It’s potentially game-changing,” Matt Bershadker, the president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the Bee. “I think we should get behind this in a big way.”

Once the petition reaches 90,000 signatures, it will be presented to the USDA. However, it appears to have little chance of succeeding given the political and logistical challenges of changing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Since 1964, the program has specifically excluded pet food by defining “food” as “any food or food product for human consumption.” Altering that definition would require Congressional action. Additionally, there are several administrative challenges to overcome in actually implementing such a policy.

“I can’t imagine how the government would decide on, say, how much more money a family should get if they have a Bernese mountain dog,” Craig Gundersen, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois and an expert on the food-stamp program, told the Bee. “Would this be more than for, say, a Sheltie?”

In the meantime, several charities and nonprofit organizations are attempting to fill the void by launching programs that distribute donated pet food to those in need. While their efforts are truly appreciated, these organizations are not currently able to provide for all families struggling to feed their pets.

“Being poor is hard enough without being expected to give up your companion,” said Edward Johnston Jr., the creator of the petition.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Man, 79, pleads no contest to raping girl, 5, sentenced to 90 days house arrest
Man, 79, pleads no contest to raping girl, 5, sentenced to 90 days house arrest

A California businessman pleaded no contest to statutory rape of a 5-year-old girl Wednesday, and, as part of a negotiated deal with the San Joaquin County Superior Court, was sentenced to 90 days house arrest and will not have to register as a sex offender. Lyle Burgess, 79, of Stockton, sexually assaulted the girl, who is now 7, after her family...
Germany’s largest amusement park reopens after massive fire 
Germany’s largest amusement park reopens after massive fire 

There were no injuries among the thousands of people who evacuated from Germany’s largest amusement park after a fire ignited Saturday, destroying the Pirates of Batavia ride.  About 250 firefighters battled the blaze at Europa-Park into Sunday morning after the fire started in a warehouse, according to Sky News. Some firefighters...
Maryland rain-soaked, flash floods wash out Ellicott City
Maryland rain-soaked, flash floods wash out Ellicott City

Heavy rains soaking much of Maryland have led to flash flooding in parts of the state. Main Street in Ellicott City, which is just outside of Baltimore, was filled with rushing brown floodwater Sunday afternoon.  A flash flood emergency was issued for Howard County at 4:40 p.m. The city was still recovering from a devastating 2016 flood that left...
Customers forced to pay for cheese sue McDonald’s for $5 million, according to lawsuit
Customers forced to pay for cheese sue McDonald’s for $5 million, according to lawsuit

Two McDonald’s customers with a beef about cheese filed a federal lawsuit alleging the restaurant giant is engaged in deceptive and misleading business practices in its sale of the Quarter Pounder with cheese.  McDonald’s used to sell four items in the Quarter Pounder category, with or without cheese, with prices ranging from 30 to...
More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision
More LGBT issues loom as justices near wedding cake decision

A flood of lawsuits over LGBT rights is making its way through courts and will continue, no matter the outcome in the Supreme Court’s highly anticipated decision in the case of a Colorado baker who would not create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Courts are engaged in two broad types of cases on this issue, weighing whether sex discrimination...
More Stories