U.S. Reps. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), announced today that they will co-chair the newly formed Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, working with The HSUS and HSLF to take lawmaking for animals to the next level. Moran and Gallegly have been longtime champions for legislation to protect animals from cruelty and abuse--advancing a range of measures dealing with animal fighting, bear baiting, "crush" videos, factory farming, fur labeling, and more--and we could not be more excited about their leadership of this new organization of humane lawmakers.
The bipartisan caucus will work to raise awareness of animal welfare issues in Congress, and pursue common-sense public policies, such as cracking down on abusive puppy mills, stopping the export of horses for slaughter, requiring accurate labels on fur-trimmed jackets, and banning the trade in pet primates. In the last few days alone, a pet chimpanzee critically mauled a Connecticut woman, 300 dogs were rescued from a North Carolina puppy mill, and New York department stores were exposed for fraudulent fur selling--demonstrating that these reforms are urgently needed, and that the caucus could not come at a more opportune time.
There are many caucuses in Congress, allowing members to organize around geography, industries, policy issues, or other common interests. With millions of Americans who care about animal protection, and public opinion squarely on the side of curbing the worst abuses, a caucus that stands up for the humane treatment of animals should be one of the largest and most visible on Capitol Hill. Two-thirds of American households have pets, tens of millions of Americans enjoy wildlife watching, and animals are part of the fabric of our daily lives. It's an issue that's relevant to Americans and our quality of life in every single congressional district, from the farms to the suburbs to the inner cities.
We are grateful to the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and former Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), who co-founded the Congressional Friends of Animals Caucus years ago and helped to put animal protection on the political map. With its new leadership, and more friends of animal protection in the House and Senate than ever, the newly constituted Congressional Animal Protection Caucus has enormous potential to do good for animals, especially with a sympathetic new Obama Administration. Please urge your representative to join the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, and be part of the leadership team for animals on Capitol Hill.
I've pasted below the press release from the congressional offices announcing the formation of the new caucus.
Moran and Gallegly to Co-Chair Congressional Animal Protection Caucus
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 18, 2009 - Reps. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Elton Gallegly (R-CA) announced today that they will co-chair the newly formed "Congressional Animal Protection Caucus (CAPC)," a bipartisan organization committed to raising awareness of animal welfare issues in Congress. CAPC replaces the Friends of Animals Caucus that existed in previous Congresses.
Through non-partisan forums and briefings, CAPC will seek to highlight important issues affecting animals and upcoming animal welfare legislation. CAPC will also track the progress of relevant legislation, provide members of Congress with dependable information, and attempt to build broad coalitions in support of common-sense, humane animal welfare laws.
In the 110th Congress, the caucus was instrumental in the passing tougher animal fighting legislation, and tightening animal welfare regulations in the 2008 Farm Bill. Priorities for the 111th Congress include legislation banning the slaughter of horses, stronger regulations on Internet sales of puppies, and legislation requiring accurate labels on all fur products.
Rep. Moran stated, "Animals are sensate beings that deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. I look forward to building a consensus among my colleagues in support of sensible animal welfare laws that reflect our common values. Protecting animals from cruel treatment is not a partisan issue."
"Animal cruelty has no place in a civilized society," Rep. Gallegly said. "Other crimes often go hand-in-hand with animal fighting, including illegal gambling, drug trafficking and acts of human violence. Virtually every arrest for animal cruelty has also led to additional arrests for at least one of these criminal activities."
"The American public is united in its belief that all animals deserve humane treatment," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "The newly constituted Congressional Animal Protection Caucus will help better align our federal policies with public opinion, and we are excited to work closely with its leaders and with the entire Congress to combat cruelty and abuse."