Category: comfort animals

Food stamps for pets: Senator Mitch McConnell responds

By Lynn Hamilton


Food stamps for pets may seem like liberal folly, but conservatives with a long view should also support it.

The compassion argument

The main reason to support food stamps for companion animals is, of course, compassion for the animals. And for the people who are emotionally attached to those animals. The poorest pet owner will gladly give up her own dinner to feed her pet.

The conservative argument

But what if you have no compassion? What if you think there’s some shining, divine line between humans and the rest of the animal world that seriously makes dogs and cats of no consequence?

In that case, too, there are still some good reasons to support food stamps for Fido.

Loose cannons adopt one cat or one dog, and now they have a reason to show up to work, quit taking drugs, and buy a house. Animals change your life, because now you have someone you have to be responsible for.

Just read “A Cat Named Bob.” Here’s a drug addict who went into a state-supported, kinda gruesome, methadone-based addiction program and stuck it out religiously for the sake of his cat. Food stamps for pets is the road to fewer food stamps for people.

Today’s action. Please sign the petition to extend food stamps to pets.

UPDATE: United States Senator Mitch McConnell responds

United States Senator Mitch McConnell responded to the AnimalRightsChannel’s post asking for food stamps to be extended to pets. He indicates that the legislation that supports food stamps will be up for authorization this year. He does not indicate that extension of the service to pets is out of the question.

Dear Ms. Hamilton;

Thank you for contacting me regarding federal food assistance programs.   Hearing from you helps me better represent Kentucky in the United States Senate.

I believe too many Americans find themselves trapped within a cycle of poverty and hunger.   Often times, Americans, from small children to the elderly, are forced to choose between food and life’s other necessities such as health care and shelter.   In response, the federal government administers programs to help low-income Americans meet their most basic needs.   These support programs include federal nutrition assistance initiatives, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which were most recently reauthorized through the Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L.113-79), commonly referred to as the Farm Bill.

In your correspondence, you mentioned your thoughts on expanding SNAP eligible purchases to include pet food.   As you may know, SNAP benefits may only be used to purchase food for the eligible recipient’s household to eat – not for the purchase of non-food items such as alcohol, tobacco, household supplies, or pet food. You may be interested to know that the Farm Bill and many of its programs, including SNAP, are due to be authorized in 2018.   The reauthorization of the Farm Bill will serve as an opportunity to review programs, like SNAP, and evaluate any reforms that may be necessary for their future success and efficacy.   Please rest assured that as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I will keep your thoughts in mind throughout this process.

Thank you for contacting me about this important matter.   If you would like to receive periodic updates about federal legislative issues, please sign up for my eNewsletter at, become a fan of my page on Facebook by visiting or follow my office on Twitter @McConnellPress.