Cathy Kangas, CEO and founder of Prai Beauty, based in New Canaan, presented U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., with the first "Beauty with a Cause" award for his dedication to helping animals across the country.
The award was presented to Blumenthal at a reception on July 21 at the home of Cathy and Ed Kangas.
"As a first-term senator, Richard Blumenthal has been a strong advocate of all animals," Kangas said, "Animals have no voice. Senator Blumenthal has made sure that our federal government provides them with protection and a better life. We are pleased to present him with the first `Beauty with a Cause' award in recognition of his commitment to animals."
Cathy Kangas started "Beauty with a Cause" in 1999 when she founded her company so that she could fund animal welfare initiatives with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her high-end skin-care line sold on home shopping networks around the world.
Blumenthal's accomplishments include being the lead sponsor for the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which makes it a misdemeanor to attend a dog or cock fight or bring a child under 18 years of age to such an event. He is also the co-sponsor of the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, which would ensure that American horses don't end up in slaughterhouses after they have outlived their usefulness on the racetrack or in the show ring. The slaughter of horses is not only an animal protection issue, having horsemeat in the food chain is a potential public health problem.
Blumenthal has also been part of a bipartisan group of legislators calling for an end to federal funding of invasive biomedical research on chimpanzees. At the urging of Congress, the National Institutes of Health began an expert inquiry into the use of chimpanzees in research and determined they are now largely unnecessary as a research model. Just last month, the NIH announced it will permanently retire almost all federally owned chimpanzees and stop funding the breeding of chimpanzees for research.
In addition, Blumenthal signed a letter led by Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., of the Commerce Committee to the Department of Commerce urging that all provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act be strictly enforced. This act prevents aquariums and Sea World from taking whales and dolphins out of the sea and away from their family pods solely for entertainment.
The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act introduced by Blumenthal facilitates the adoption of retired military dogs and provides best practices for their post-retirement veterinary care. A version of the bill was signed into law and the Air Force, in particular, has pledged to work with nonprofits to develop the care these dogs need as well as providing them with a letter of commendation for their service.
Blumenthal supports federal funding for animal welfare activities and has requested that it be considered in fiscal year 2014.