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View Full Version : Bad Bill for Farm Animals in Virginia



AnimalDefender
02-06-2011, 10:34 PM
I am very concerned over a Senate Bill (SB1026) and a House Bill (HB1541) in our General Assembly, companion bills on the same subject from patrons in each body, that would have an extremely adverse effect on our farm animals.

Reasons offered for the bills by its proponents paint a rosy picture for passage, but when these reasons are examined assiduously, an entirely different picture emerges, as follows:

1. The Farm Bureau contends that farm animals have no care standards in the law now when there are adequate care, food, water, space and shelter standards in the law now, applying to all animals and used in the many cruelty prosecutions over the years; the Supreme Court has even tested and validated these existing standards.

2. Del. Orrock, the main proponent, contends that farming interests need protection from "overzealous" enforcement but there are no "overzealous" enforcement cases cited or in fact, and this reasoning not only besmirches hardworking, honest people who investigate, prosecute and adjudicate cruelty cases, it is also contradictory because you can't have "overzealous" or any enforcement without the standards the Farm Bureau and Del. Orrock claim aren't there.

3. The Farm Bureau also contends the bills are "pushback" against animal welfare activists, a peculiar argument given the Farm Bureau's sorry record of self-policing (egg producer food poisoning, Smithfield and other exposes) and offensive since it lumps good farmers who respect animals with factory farmers to whom animals are disdained for being mere animals and treated as if they can't feel, suffer and perceive what is being done to them.

4. Gov. McDonnell claims the bills will avoid job loss from stringent animal welfare standards, which subordinates animal abuse to job loss, a logic that would permit child labor, prostitution, bootlegging, or any illegal activity employing many without regard to the morality or public policy merit of that employment, and a logic that ignores that factory farms are not big employers while family farms comply with existing animal welfare provisions already because they have people in charge who attend church, value life and witness sentient behaviors of animals.

5. Del. Orrock also contends the bills are well-crafted, which is plainly untrue given the uproar once relevant stakeholders actually saw the bills. Even the AG found the bills' original "emaciated" standard nonsense. Animal welfare and law enforcement groups do not consider emaciated or dehydration as standards, or approve exculpatory provisions like "standard animal husbandry practices, veterinary orders, Acts of God or planned killing".

6. Del. Orrock contends the bills were a collaboration of all concerned when the only groups participating were the Farm Bureau and their allies. Animal welfare groups, horse rescues, and farm animal experts did not participate, nor did the rank and file of farmers, vets, and Animal Control Officers excluded and ignored by their leadership.

Visiting a factory farm today is not on any school field trip schedules because it would induce nightmares and trauma in children's minds if it were, notwithstanding the merits of family farms. Yet the Farm Bureau would dictate factory farm "care" standards that allow treatment just short of malnourishment and dehydration, and excuse cruelty by invoking "standard animal husbandry practices, veterinary orders, an Act of God, or the planned killing of the animal".

These are the reasons I oppose this very inhumane legislation and have asked my state senator and delegate not to support this bill; I hope many, many others will do likewise.

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02-17-2011, 03:53 AM
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