Before starting my Congressional career I was a veterinarian for more than thirty years, caring for domestic and farm animals. As one of only three licensed veterinarians in Congress, much of my life’s work has been dedicated to keeping our four-legged friends healthy. My experience as a veterinarian plays a crucial role in my policymaking, and I am proud to be a leader on animal welfare and veterinary medicine issues in Congress. I am a co-chair of the Veterinary Medicine Caucus, and a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and the House Rodeo Caucus.
For six years I have led the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act which cracks down on the abusive practice of soring. Soring is a practice in which horse trainers apply painful chemicals and insert sharp objects into the hooves of Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, and Spotted Saddle Horses to achieve the exaggerated gait these horses are known for. It is a gross abuse of horses that has been in practice for decades. The PAST Act finally passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support this July. There is a clear and demonstrable need for this bill, which will protect horses from this egregious and ongoing practice, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to finally pass this bill into law.
I am also a cosponsor and supporter of many other pieces of legislation aimed at the health, welfare, and protection of animals. Some of these bills have passed into law – for example, the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which expands federal domestic violence protection to include pets; and the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, which criminalizes animal crushing. Other bills continue to work through the legislative process, like the widely-supported Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act. Animal welfare is an important area of bipartisan agreement, and our work here in Congress will help pets, livestock, wildlife, pet owners, farmers, and anyone who values animals.