April 30th, 2021 marked President Biden’s 100th day in office. An artificial milestone, it nonetheless has become a time-honored tradition in Washington, D.C. The 46th president wasted no time, signing eight different executive orders on his first day in office. Now up to 42, the Biden Administration has demonstrated some very clear priorities: addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, setting the nation on a path towards tackling the climate crisis, and undoing his predecessor’s mistakes (to put it nicely). Tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and centering climate should indeed be two of Biden’s top priorities. However, addressing climate change must also include animal welfare - such as protecting biodiversity and supporting safer and healthier agricultural practices (no, we don’t mean banning beef). Unfortunately for animal welfare and conservation advocates, this work doesn’t have a quick fix. Restoring policies like the Migratory Bird Act and the Endangered Species Act to their pre-Trump powers will take time. Part of this process includes reinterpreting key rules on these policies, drafting updates, submitting them for public comment, and then writing final drafts. This process often takes over a year. In the meantime, there is still plenty to celebrate. The new president has moved forward with a strong clean energy agenda, rejoined to the Paris Agreement, and announced a new commitment to cut U.S. emissions by half over the next 10 years - but there is still plenty of work to be done. After all, policy change is both a sprint and a marathon. Putting the U.S. back on the right track post President Trump will take time. As Dr. Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity put it in a previous article, “We hope the Biden administration will listen to science and steer the federal government back toward protecting wildlife.” As we see more and more scientists appointed to important positions, and even reassuring tweets on Earth Day, here’s hoping we’re off to a good start.
Biden’s first 100 days: The good and the not so good
Updated: May 8, 2021