President Donald Trump and House Democrats are pushing back against the administration’s new food-ban policy, saying they must be careful about how they treat the pets that they depend on.
The White House is banning cat food and canned cat food from the United States for three weeks starting Tuesday, a move that’s been met with mixed reviews from the veterinary community.
The ban also bans cats that have died of food poisoning or who have ingested a toxin, according to the Department of Agriculture.
But it’s a new ban that’s coming at a critical time in the country’s history.
The administration is trying to protect public health by banning imported cat food for a short period of time, while also curbing imports of cat food.
“As you know, the United Kingdom’s ban on cats was set to take effect on March 1st,” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
“The United States has had this same policy for many years and it is working well.”
The new ban also comes after the FDA and USDA announced in late December that they had banned imports of cats from Russia, India and China, the first time the nations had banned cat foods in years.
“I think this is a really good move, as it will help prevent imports of food from countries that have been importing food into the United State for years,” said Dr. Stephen Smith, a veterinary pathologist and a former FDA commissioner.
“If it goes into effect, then I don’t think there will be any need to import cat food into our country,” said Joe Haddad, a veterinarian at PetSmart, who said he has been purchasing cat food in the United Sates for decades.
Trump’s ban is the latest effort by the Trump administration to restrict imports of animal products, but it’s the first federal move to restrict imported cat foods.
The ban comes after a series of deadly outbreaks of food-borne illnesses in the U.S. that have resulted in more than 30 deaths.
The cat ban comes as the administration is seeking to improve its relationship with veterinarians, who have expressed concerns about the ban.
In September, the FDA announced it was revoking a permit for veterinarians to buy cat food to help prevent future outbreaks.
Trump also called on Congress to pass legislation to expand the number of pet-shelters that can be opened, and he pledged to make it easier for pets to be imported.
“We are making great strides, but we are not done,” Trump said during a press conference Wednesday.
“And the time has come to bring these issues to the forefront and put our cats first,” he added.
Trump signed an executive order last month to ban imports of pet food from all countries except the U