If you live in Tennessee you may have been aware of the recent debate over House Bill 1191 by Representative Andy Holt, or you may not. And you may certainly be wondering what this has to do with changing my ringtone, but be patient all good things come to those who wait – or at least keep reading.
Well, this bill has to do with animal cruelty, undercover video/photography, and timeliness of reporting these abuses to the authorities. The bill passed through both house and senate, but faced some push back from supporters of HSUS, which really came as a surprise to me because I would think an animal rights group would be all about timely reporting of animal abuse. Well, they weren’t. This bill, which has since been vetoed by our Governor due to potential concerns raised by our Attorney General about long term legal battles it could lead to, was in its intent designed to strengthen Tennessee already stringent animal cruelty laws. This bill, had it passed, would have required reporting of any video or photographic evidence of animal cruelty to the proper authorities within 24 hours. (Again, I still don’t really understand why HSUS had a problem with this, but they did.)
One of the more well known advocates against House Bill 1191 was Carrie Underwood. And now, a lot of my friends in agriculture think I should change my ringtone ( it’s Blown Away by Carrie Underwood) just because she and I were on opposite sides in this debate. (And given my stance on Cracker Barrel and their opinion about crate free gestation in pork, you might think I would have changed the ringtone already) But, I haven’t.
Here’s why, maybe I have grown a little from my Cracker Barrel rants – not that I am planning on going back in one any time soon. Or maybe, as a Mom, I don’t want to push too hard, fearing my two young impressionable daughters will turn out more like Ms. Underwood than me.
I may not like that there are people in this country that care more about their pets than the fact that 1 in 4 children in America are hungry, or that more than a few senior citizens have to choose between food and medicine. Animal abuse occurs in this country, and it should not be tolerated period. As a Mom and a physician, forgive me if I worry a bit more about hungry children, abused and beaten children, children whose parents are hooked on drugs, seniors choosing between medicine and food, etc. etc. I also, cannot fathom why, when solutions to the problem of animal abuse are proposed, Animal Rights groups and Animal Rights Advocates like Carrie Underwood, were against the bill, because it would limit the time that they would have to film and take pictures for propaganda footage that is used to raise money for their organization. These groups were more concerned with raising funds than STOPPING the abuse. Please help me understand that.
But, the fact is Americans have the right to choose what is important to them. If animal rights groups feel that the right to shoot undercover footage and to continue to allow animal abuse to go on for months in order to raise money from the footage, well, I hope HSUS and Ms. Underwood are happy with the Governors veto.
For me, I hope that the bill gets reworked and resubmitted next session, but I am keeping my ringtone. Because even though we stand on opposite sides of animal rights issues, I still like her music – and I don’t want to drive my daughters into imitating her opinions. But, I am dying to ask her where she gets the leather for her shoes and purses? Maybe she only has vinyl.