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.