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Vern Buchanan to co-chair Congressional Animal Protection Caucus

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Sarasota Republican Vern Buchanan announced on Monday that he will co-chair the bipartisan Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, a group dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and humane treatment of animals. The co-chair will be Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer.

“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. Among the priorities that Buchanan says he’d like to overturn in the country include having dogs and rabbits subjected to painful experiments in the development of cosmetics, long an issue with animal rights activists.

He also says he wants to stop the prevalence of small animals being stomped to death in the production of fetish videos, and horses being maimed by trainers to make them high-step for competition shows, a practice known as soring.

“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.”

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.

The Sarasota Republican has introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act in the House, a bipartisan bill that permanently bans the transport of horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico to be sold around the world. He also’s fought to stop U.S. slaughterhouses from killing horses for human consumption.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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