Congressman Unleashed

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U.S. Congressman Joe Cunningham on Animals & the Law

U.S. REP. JOE CUNNINGHAM IS OUR VOICE ON CAPITOL HILL, REPRESENTING THE LOWCOUNTRY COAST AS OUR FIRST DISTRICT CONGRESSMAN. WHERE DOES THIS FRESHMAN LAWMAKER LAND ON ISSUES SURROUNDING ANIMAL ADVOCACY? CAROLINA TAILS ASKED HIM THESE FIVE QUESTIONS TO FIND OUT.

Q: Tell us about the animals in your life and where you land politically on the protection of animals.

Our dog Teddy, a five-year-old rescue, is a beloved member of our family. When I’m back home in the Lowcountry, one of my favorite things to do is take Teddy on a morning run, or to the park with our son Boone. I strongly support the protection of animals and I’m proud that’s not a partisan issue in Congress. Democrats and Republicans are working together to pass and strengthen legislation protecting animals large and small.

PUPPY MILLS

Q: The WOOF Act will amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to prevent the issuance or renewal of a license to breeders who have not demonstrated compliance with animal care standards. It will also prohibit the issuance or renewal of a license to breeders whose previous licenses have been revoked or suspended, or to their immediate family members at the same address. Will you support or co-sponsor this legislation?

I am a proud cosponsor of the WOOF Act, bipartisan legislation to promote the welfare and improve living conditions of commercially-bred dogs. It is crucial we protect the welfare of animals, and the WOOF Act does that by closing existing loopholes to better protect man’s best friend from abuse.

HORSES

Q: Thousands of American horses are slaughtered and shipped overseas for foreign dinner plates. Racing horses are inflicted with pain & caustic chemicals in a practice known as "soring." These are just a couple examples of the threats facing these animals. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the U.S. and end their export for slaughter abroad. The Prevent All Soring Tactics Act would eliminate the abusive act of soring horses. Will you support or co-sponsor this legislation?

I am proud to cosponsor the SAFE Act and the Prevent all Soring Tactics [PAST] Act. It’s an unfortunate reality that horse abuse is still rampant in this country. The bipartisan PAST Act will protect horses from the cruel and inhumane practice of deliberately inflicting pain and suffering for show purposes.

Horses are majestic, powerful creatures and companions who are not raised as food for humans. The SAFE act will permanently ban domestic horse slaughter and end the export of horses abroad for the same purpose.

SHARKS

Q: Your anti-drilling TV commercials were wildly popular and showed your love for our coastline and oceans. As many as 73- million sharks are killed each year to supply the global trade in shark fins. The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, H.R. 737, would ban the possession of and commerce in shark fins in the United States. Will you vote for or cosponsor the bill?

I am proud to cosponsor the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. While the act of shark finning is illegal in the United States, unfortunately wrongly obtained fins are still imported and exported on American soil. The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act will help sustain healthy populations of sharks worldwide, and as a former ocean engineer I know how important this is to ocean conservation. This bipartisan bill is good for our oceans, and important tourism jobs and businesses that depend on healthy oceans and shark populations.

LEADERSHIP

Q: Will you be a leader in animal protection legislation? What specific actions will you take?

I am proud to cosponsor important, bipartisan legislation that protect animals large and small. Bottom line, we all have a responsibility to care for and protect God’s creatures, and that’s a responsibility I take seriously.

Cunningham’s spokeswoman tells us Rep. Cunningham “is in the process” of joining the bipartisan Congressional Animal Protection Caucus.

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