WHAT OTHERS SAY: Animal rights bill is unnecessary and symbolic

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST

Do we really need this?

That's the question we must ask of any proposed legislation designed to send a message.

State Rep. Ward Franz, R-West Plains, filed a bill Wednesday to prohibit animals from enjoying greater rights or privileges than humans.

What specific rights or privileges are at issue?

The text of the bill, HB 1513, is silent on specifics.

It reads, in its entirety: "The laws of this state shall not confer upon any animal a right, privilege, or legal status that is equivalent or that exceeds a right, privilege, or legal status as that which this state confers by law upon a human being. This provision shall not be construed as limiting laws that protect the welfare of animals in the state."

A comment by the sponsor helps clarify the purpose of the bill. Franz said: "The rights of animal owners are clearly under attack by groups like HSUS and PETA. The tactics used to trick voters during Prop. B are still being used in their new ballot initiative Your Vote Counts, my hope is that this bill will stop these attempts to undermine our rights to own and raise animals once and for all."

The bill is designed to send a message in response to a response to a response to a response.


The progression of responses includes:

  • HB 1513 is a response to Your Vote Counts, a group backing an initiative petition to make it more difficult for lawmakers to alter laws approved by voters statewide.
  • The Your Vote Counts initiative is a response to changes made by the Legislature to a voter-approved law.
  • The legislative changes were a response to an animal welfare initiative, Proposition B, approved by voters.
  • Approval of Proposition B was the voters' response to the ballot issue.

We find the latest legislative salvo unnecessary and vague.

The message we would send is to ignore this proposal and concentrate on the important issues before the Legislature this session.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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Ray Shapiro January 31, 2012 | 11:47 a.m.

("State Rep. Ward Franz, R-West Plains, filed a bill Wednesday to prohibit animals from enjoying greater rights or privileges than humans.")
My junkyard German Shepherd, Ludwig, just told me that he agrees with the Jefferson City News Tribune.
Ludwig enjoys greater rights and privileges than I do, and he wants more.

(Report Comment)
Kevin Gamble January 31, 2012 | 12:50 p.m.

I agree with this editorial. Junk legislation that's a thinly-veiled defense of a non-existent "right" to abuse and exploit for the sake of profit. This certainly won't help improve the already poor reputation of our state's legislature.

Or perhaps Mr. Franz is a visionary, working on our behalf to protect us from a Planet Of The Apes-style apocalyptic future?

No, I think I was right the first time.

(Report Comment)
Daniel Elstein January 31, 2012 | 10:05 p.m.

Animals such as cows, pigs, and chickens, are imprisoned for life in filthy, crowded cages; their tails, beaks, ears, horns and other body parts are mutilated; they are burned (branded), castrated, and in slaughterhouses they are often scalded and skinned alive, and have limbs amputated, all while they are fully conscious, without anesthetics. It is impossible to describe the cruelty. It is as bad as can be imagined.

If HSUS or Peta wanted equivalent rights for animals, this would, I suppose include the rights to vote, attend public school as children, bear arms, etc. But this is ridiculous. No one is arguing for equivalent rights for animals. The issue is, should business have free reign to abuse animals in any way they like if it helps them make a few extra bucks. This bill is nothing but a distraction from reality and a PR stunt.

(Report Comment)
Jonathan Hopfenblatt February 1, 2012 | 12:44 a.m.

My guess is that the sponsors of this bill don't know that human beings are animals too.

"Certain kinds of animals shall forevermore have fewer rights than other kinds of animals."

Pretty weird bill.

(Report Comment)

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