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February 15, 2020

In Short

Published on January 29, 2020

Puerto Rico defies federal cockfighting ban

Cockfighting remains alive in Puerto Rico despite a federal ban on the blood sport now extending to all U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico and Guam.

On Dec. 18, 2019, two days before the prohibition took effect, Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vázquez signed legislation keeping cockfighting legal under the island’s laws.

As reported in news outlets, Vázquez said during a signing ceremony what worries her most is abandoning the people who rely on cockfighting. She said: “They don’t have work. They don’t have a livelihood. They can’t pay their bills or sustain their children.”

The effort to save cockfighting in Puerto Rico follows a decision by a federal judge upholding the ban, saying that Congress has the power to legislate over the island.

Vázquez acknowledged that the island’s law contradicts the federal ban, but she wasn’t trying to pick a fight with Washington.

“This measure is not meant to be a confrontation,” the governor explained. “If they (the federal government) understand this as a conflict, then we ask them to come talk to us. Let’s talk it through. This is an industry that represents the income for thousands of families, and we have to take that into consideration.”

VHMA names new president

Michelle Gonzales-Bryant
Michelle Gonzales-Bryant (Courtesy of VHMA)

The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association has named Michelle Gonzales-Bryant as its new president.

Gonzales-Bryant, a certified veterinary practice manager, stepped into the role during the 2019 VHMA Annual Meeting and Conference, Sept. 26-28, 2019, in Glendale, Arizona.

Gonzales-Bryant is a corporate regional operations director for VCA Animal Hospitals. She began her veterinary career working as a kennel attendant and veterinary assistant before becoming a veterinary technician. She has been a VHMA member since 2006 and has served in several positions on the VHMA board of directors.

Gonzales-Bryant succeeds Jim Nash, who served as the VHMA president for two years.

Winn announces $150,000 in grants for feline health studies

In December 2019, the Winn Feline Foundation announced $154,613 in funding for six feline health studies.

In partnership with the George Sydney and Phyllis Redman Miller Trust, Winn announced a total of $133,813 in grants for the following studies:

  • “Precision medicine genomics for cats” (continuation).
  • “Cats are not dogs: Addressing drug failure in cats.”
  • “Defining stem cell–induced alterations in CD8+ T cells in cats with chronic gingivostomatitis.”
  • “Using probiotics to modulate the respiratory microbiome in feline allergic asthma.”
  • “Evaluation of flash glucose monitoring systems in diabetic cats.”

Winn also announced a $20,800 grant through the Ricky Fund and Winn General Fund for the study “Biologic variability of cardiac biomarkers in healthy cats and cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.”

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