In North Dakota, lots of good people pulled together and worked hard to defeat the animal rights Measure 5 proposed by HSUS that severely threatened livestock producers. The measure was defeated at the general election of 5 November last year. That victory has been short-lived.
A new animal rights bill is now proposed: Senate Bill 2211. Incredibly, it was written by the very people who worked so hard to defeat Measure 5!
A vain attempt by agricultural organizations to prove that they are “reasonable” and to protect their members, this bill will make any thinking rancher quake in his boots.
“Any person that willfully (sic) engages in animal cruelty is guilty of a class C felony .
2. For purposes of this chapter, “animal cruelty” means:
a. Any act or omission that causes an animal unjustifiable pain, suffering, or death,
including the infliction of any injury that results in a substantial risk of death,
leaves an animal significantly disfigured, results in broken bones, or causes
prolonged impairment of an animal’s health; and
b. Any act or omission that results in a serious illness and leaves an animal
significantly disfigured or causes prolonged impairment of the animal’s health.”
Language is then inserted stating that “usual and customary practices in production agriculture” do not constitute violations. The people proposing and backing this bill are, at best, totally ignorant of the modus operandi of our enemies.
When I read the above definition of animal cruelty, I immediately think of that chronic steer that I have treated three times and kicked out to grass. Or the extreme case of footrot that I treated by amputating a toe. Or the heifer with a dead calf inside her that I hadn’t found for a day or two. Or the wild cow who jumped into the steel fence and broke her nose. Or the calves that got bogged in the low-water pond and died before I could get to them. Or, or, or.
If any man who makes his whole living ranching or feedlotting or slaughtering thinks that the above definition of animal cruelty could not be applied to him multiple times in any given week, then I offer this challenge:
Let me hang out at your place — unfettered access — with a video camera for a few weeks. I will make a short documentary that would convince the average judge or jury that what they see does not comprise “usual and customary practices in production agriculture.”
TempleGrandin will be interviewed and her expert testimony will be, “That is absolutely unacceptable. That is not what the majority of producers do.”
When my video of your practices is aired nation-wide by complicit media, you will discover what it feels like to be abandoned by your “industry” and everyone you thought were your friends.
You will be found guilty. You will be a convicted felon.
According to this proposed legislation, every honest producer in North Dakota will be. It’s just a matter of time…. a function of when you happen to find yourself — for whatever related or unrelated reason — in the line of sight of one of our enemies.
This bill does not protect North Dakota ranchers. It gives them away.
I love ag. I love the fact that there are many good men and women who fought HSUS and won. I hope they see that it does not matter who authors bad legislation. Just because they wrote it, does not mean that it will not be used against good, honest producers.