The Strange Bills of Senator Larson Need to be Defeated
The bills related to horse slaughter introduced by Sen. Tyson Larson are way out of line, especially the one to require humane societies and horse rescues to accept and care for any horse that is presented to them, and to make it a crime, a class IV misdemeanor, if those groups do not have enough space or money to take in animals dumped on their doorsteps. (“Does new legislation make horse sense?” Telegraph, Jan. 16)
Senator Larson’s astonishing bill turns moral responsibility on its head, allowing reckless animal owners to casually dispense with animals they’ve acquired without proper forethought and shifting the care and cost burdens onto struggling local organizations that are already up to their ears cleaning up the messes of irresponsible parties. For the government to require these local organizations to care for every animal presented to them, and to make a crime of their inability to take them in, is akin to requiring homeless shelters to pay for hotel rooms for every person on the streets when their beds are full, or requiring conservation groups to cover the costs of every environmental polluter and to require nothing of the very polluters who create the problem in the first place.
In the news story about this legislation, one ally of Senator Larson made an outrageous claim about the Humane Society of the United States, essentially arguing that the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization doesn’t care about animals. He used a dubious 18-year-old quote in support of his absurd argument. Several years before I joined the HSUS, in 1992 or 1993, I appeared at an agricultural forum and addressed the issue of animal welfare in American agriculture. In the question-and-answer session, a question was directed to me about whether there should be an attempt to preserve all breeds of exotic livestock. I was specifically queried about so-called “heirloom breeds” (older breed variations that have been around for a while and whose continued survival may be in jeopardy) of domestic agricultural animals and their passing out of existence. At the time, I did not consider the fate of such breeds an ethically significant dilemma. I replied by saying that I did not believe that we had a moral obligation to preserve such breeds; in short, I said we did not need an endangered species act for rare breeds of livestock. It’s a tremendous leap and failure of logic to equate such a comment with a dislike of animals or to agricultural and animal ownership in general. Frankly, it’s laughable.
The outlandish claims of our critics needed to be quelled, and the strange bills of Senator Larson defeated.
- Nebraska Bill Would Slaughter Horses and Penalize Rescues (rtfitch.wordpress.com)