In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Regulating Cow Drivers
Leave it to the folks in California to start a controversy over the rights of farm animals. You read that correctly, the rights of farm animals. The Farm Sanctuary group, self-described as the nation's leading farm animal protection organization, put on the California statewide ballot a proposal to protect livestock from abuse. The voters bought it and now California regulates the size of cages in which animals are shipped, the temperature of the water cows can drink and all the chickens out there are now range-free. Farm Sanctuary is now embroiled in a similar fight right in our own farm yard and it's plenty mad that right now "Big Agribusiness" is winning the fight. In the House Agriculture Committee last week they took testimony on four bills that would regulate the abuse of farm animals but the legislation does not go as far as the California stuff. The animals rights group calls this a "blatant attempt" by industrial farmers to "evade meaningful change for Michigan farm animals." Committee chair Rep. Mike Simpson (D-Jackson) says he favors legislation to "catch the bad actors who are treating animals inhumanely" but the standards should be based on science and not on what Farm Sanctuary demands. In the cryptic quote of the year, Simpson opines, "In Michigan we firmly believe that animals are part of the food chain. They should not have the right to drive a car."