By: Charisse Ongie, AVMA Marketing and Communications Division Extern and veterinary student at Colorado State University
On June 3, Congressmen Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) launched the Caucus for the Humane Bond. This House congressional caucus will focus on the human-animal bond and other related medical or ethical issues concerning animals.
“This caucus is devoted to bringing a common-sense, rational dialogue to issues surrounding the physical, emotional, and even medical connections between humans and animals, to make a more humane world for animals, those in our households and agriculture, including children, our families, our military veterans, and our aged,” said Bilirakis.
Animal-loving celebrities, animal actors, and military and service dog groups attended the launch this past week on Capitol Hill. American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert also joined in the celebration, as the association supports the formation of this new caucus.
“The animal space often brings out strong emotions and passions, and national dialogue has at times been contentious with different competing agendas. We share the passion for animals, and based on 138 years of innovating protections for our nation’s children and animals, we also know that the best approaches and solutions come from the head as well as the heart,” Dr. Ganzert said.
Aside from co-chairs Reps. Bilirakis and Cuellar, two other representatives have joined the caucus, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.).
The AVMA recognizes the importance of the human-animal bond. This mutually beneficial connection helps people and animals emotionally, psychologically and physically. At the AVMA, related issues are overseen by the Steering Committee on Human-Animal Interactions (SCHAI) and supported by the Animal Welfare Division staff. AVMA’s policies related to the human-animal bond can be found at the AVMA website.