A new petition is circulating on social media aimed at tackling what some people say is a problem with the food stamp program. That problem, says petitioner Edward Johnston Jr., is that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) doesn’t cover food for all beloved family members.
Each year in America, the SNAP program puts food on the table for 40 million low-income families that might otherwise go hungry. Currently, there are no restrictions on the type of food recipients can purchase including snacks and soda.
However, other necessities like toiletries, cleaning products, and pet food are excluded. Johnston wants to change that, and he is petitioning Congress to amend the regulations. He believes that benefits should cover food for pets when their owners can’t afford it.
Anticipating pushback on his petition, Johnston included an argument as to why this change is necessary:
“Some argue that people should not keep pets if they cannot afford them, but the fact is that an individual or family’s financial status can change at any time. Should someone be forced to give up a pet they’ve had for years just because they hit a financial rough patch? Or should they be able to utilize federal aid to continue feeding their pet?”
Social Media Reactions
As of February 3, more than 160,000 people agreed with Johnston and signed his petition. However, on social media, the reactions were mostly negative. “This has to be the most ridiculous petition I have seen,” wrote Gina Betchel-Hicks. “This world is so give me everything be responsible for nothing already!!”
Suffice it to say, pets are a very important part of the family for most people. Animals offer companionship and, in some cases, provide much needed emotional support to their owners. But owning a pet is a big responsibility that encompasses more than just feeding them.
Yes, people fall on hard times and that’s what the SNAP program is for. But can America afford to extend benefits to pets? After all, what happens when they get sick? Should Medicaid cover vet bills?
These are important questions and we want to hear your answers. Share your thoughts in the comments and join the conversation on our Facebook page.