Letters to the Editor

Rep. Vern Buchanan deserves kudos for work on animal welfare issues

I applaud Congressman Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, for kicking off his seventh term by introducing two meaningful bills to protect animals. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act would add extreme animal cruelty to the federal criminal code, and the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would end the slaughter of American horses.

Despite felony level penalties in all 50 states, animal torture can still go unpunished. Current federal law does not address gruesome acts of cruelty, such as crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating or impaling animals, thereby providing a refuge for this depravity on federal property and in interstate commerce. The PACT Act closes this gap in the law. It provides law enforcement with an essential tool to protect our communities from violent individuals. Rep. Buchanan has supported the PACT Act since it was first introduced in 2015, and I am grateful that he took up the torch this year to lead it.

As a longstanding leader on the SAFE Act, he also continues to stand with the 80 percent of Americans who want to see a permanent ban on horse slaughter in this country. While the last horse slaughter plants in the United States closed years ago, America’s horses are still being killed for their meat. Each year, tens of thousands of our horses are transported under terrible conditions to Canada and Mexico, where they meet a cruel end. The SAFE Act will end this practice once and for all.

Thanks to Buchanan’s leadership, both bills are well positioned to advance this Congress. As co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, he has brought these issues to the forefront and built a bipartisan coalition of more than 150 lawmakers. For this I’m grateful, and so are America’s animals. They’re lucky to have him in their corner.

Sara Amundson

Washington, D.C.