Lawmakers Aim to Make It Easier to Abuse Animals

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Our Republican supermajority is like a funnel for legislation written by corporations. The so-called model bills come out of the American Legislative Exchange Council and go right into Tennessee law after a few perfunctory votes in the legislature. There's probably more debate in the corporate boardroom about how to draft the legislation. It's tricky sometimes to disguise the bill's true purpose.

Case in point is Rep. Andy Holt's bill to make it a crime to videotape animal cruelty or abuse and then fail to turn in the evidence to authorities within 48 hours. Holt asks why months should go by before animal abuse is reported when the same isn't tolerated for child abuse or murder?

The idea isn't to stop animal cruelty, of course, but the opposite. It's to stop animal rights activists "from quietly accumulating sufficient documentation to show a court that animal cruelty is wrongly and deliberately used in some slaughterhouses and animal training facilities," the Chattanooga Times Free Press points out in an editorial.

Corporate agriculture is behind this one, or maybe the state's walking horse industry is trying to stop U.S. Humane Society investigators from documenting more soring. Holt himself is a pig farmer in Dresden and a radical anti-environmentalist. Straying from talking points during one committee meeting, he admitted his true targets are "these animal activists that have caused great economic harm to some."

The bill is up next in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, which is packed with farmers who couldn't care less about animal cruelty.

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