Buchanan to Co-Chair Animal Protection Caucus
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced today he will co-chair the bipartisan Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, a group dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and humane treatment of animals.
Buchanan will co-chair the caucus, which was comprised of over 120 members from both parties in the last Congress, along with Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).
“Stopping animal cruelty and protecting endangered wildlife should be a bipartisan issue important to all of us,” Buchanan said. “I’m looking forward to working with Congressman Blumenauer and the caucus to help protect endangered species and animals at risk of being abused.”
The caucus also works to raise awareness of animal welfare issues in Congress by sponsoring nonpartisan forums and briefings and providing members of Congress and their staff with information on animal welfare issues.
“How we treat animals is intrinsically linked to how we treat each other. We have a moral obligation to our fellow creatures,” Blumenauer said. “Fortunately, animal welfare is a unifying issue on Capitol Hill, and we’ve been able to make progress. I look forward to working with Congressman Buchanan to continue bipartisan support for animal protection in this new session of Congress.”
The country’s leading animal protection organizations praised Buchanan’s strong record on animal welfare issues.
Humane Society of the United States: Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO, said he was looking forward to working with Buchanan, calling the congressman “a true champion of animal welfare.”
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Matt Bershadker, president and CEO, said: “The Animal Protection Caucus is an important ally in the effort to protect animals from cruelty and suffering, and we congratulate Rep. Buchanan on his co-chairmanship for the 115th Congress.”
Animal Welfare Institute: Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs, said: “Rep. Buchanan has long been a champion of landmark laws, including the Endangered Species Act.”
Buchanan said his priorities would be to overturn some of the most abhorrent abuses that still occur in America, including:
- Horses maimed by trainers to make them high-step for competition shows, a practice known as soring,
- Small animals stomped to death in the production of fetish videos,
- Dogs and rabbits subjected to horrific and painful experiments in the development of cosmetics.
Buchanan also pointed out that the scale of illegal wildlife trafficking and devastating habitat loss has become so expansive that some of the most magnificent creatures in the animal kingdom are on the verge of extinction.
In the 114th Congress, the caucus supported bills to stop horse slaughter, help victims of domestic violence keep their pets and crack down on animal torture.
Buchanan is one of the leading animal welfare advocates in Congress, receiving the U.S. Humane Society’s Legislator of the Year award last year.
Buchanan recently introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, bipartisan legislation that would permanently ban the killing of horses for human consumption and prohibit the transport of horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico.
The Congressional Animal Protection Caucus will hold a reception to kick off the new Congress Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Rayburn Foyer in Washington, DC.