May 11, 2003

The Rest of the Story?

On April 25th, Brian gave brief mention to the Missouri legislature's bill to make it a FELONY to photograph animal production facilities without prior written consent. This wasn't the point of his story, though, but it will be the point of this evening's discussion.

We give a fair sum of money to groups like the Humane Society (both local and national), the APA, and Metro Animal Resource Services, for whom I volunteer by doing things like occasional website updates and wearing very short skirts to fundraising events. So, when animal legislation changes are possibly afoot, I'm often included in mailings, both paper and electronic. This situation has everyone's attention in the animal community.

I link you to this: Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation

First, felonies. A felony conviction, as probably all of you know, can remove many of an American's inherent rights. The first flyer I received on this gave an overview of a Missouri Class D felony - up to 5 years in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine. Don't forget, when you apply for that next job with your local government, you'd have to mark that you'd been convicted of "a felony" if somehow you were to violate this proposed law. Does this seem a bit harsh to you?

Next, animals, both companion and dinner animals. Animals are not people, though obviously companion animals can become part of the family. Though not self-aware, animals feel pain and pleasure, joy and sadness. Dinner animals, for lack of better terminology, well, we want our dinner animals to be as healthy and well treated as possible. After all, garbage in, garbage out.

Last, let's discuss obfuscation. Earlier, this was HB494 (officially known as SCS HB352/494). As of May 7, 2003, a mere four days ago, the debated language has been migrated (most likely strategically) to SB 668, otherwise known as the Omnibus Farm Bill, according to this article. It bothers me that I cannot verify the veracity of this information, but I'm going to go ahead and assume it is true given how long I've been following this concern, and I'll be digging deeper as the week progresses. And, if the claims are substantiated, I will make my requisite phone calls.

And I leave you with this, taken from
    Missouri – “The Don’t Show-Me State”

    It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but if certain special interest groups in Missouri get their way, a picture will soon be worth an all expense paid trip to the state prison.

    Crimes are categorized as misdemeanors or felonies, a felony being the more serious. Misdemeanors and felonies are further classified from ‘A’ to ‘D’, with an ‘A’ being the most serious. A Class ‘A’ misdemeanor is a step below a Class ‘D’ felony. A Class ‘D’ misdemeanor is at the opposite end of the scale from a Class ‘A’ felony.

    In Missouri:

    It is a Class ‘A’ misdemeanor to molest a child under the age of seventeen. 566.068
    It is a Class ‘A’ misdemeanor to conduct sexual activities with an animal. 566.111.
    It is a Class D felony to knowingly abandon a child under the age of eight. 568.032.
    Knowingly starting a fire or explosion is a Class D felony. (569.055.)
    Trespassing on someone else’s property is a Class B misdemeanor. (569.140)
    Participating in dog fighting or cockfighting is a Class D felony (578.173)
    To desecrate a flag is a Class A misdemeanor (578.095}
The site also asserts that Missouri produces 1/3 of the nation's pet shop puppies.

The bill's purported sponsors:
Sen. John Cauthorn 573/751-6858 (filibustered against a good puppy mill bill in 2001)
Sen. David Klindt 573/751-1415 (bill co-sponsor, chairman of Senate Agriculture Committee)
Rep. Peter Myers 573/751-5471 (chairman of House Agriculture Committee)

Thanks for reading.


Posted by hln at May 11, 2003 09:46 PM | Unsavory Actions