Tuesday, April 30, 2013

HUMANE ASSOCIATION OPPOSITION TO TENNESSEE REP'S "AG-GAG" BILL CAUSES HIM TO LASH OUT (and now even Carrie Underwood is getting bashed like a full-blown Dixie Chick)

          State Senator Stacey Campfield has some honest-to-god competition for Worst Elected Official in the Tennessee Legislature.

          Representative Andy Holt (R-Dresden) sponsored a bill that would make it illegal for anyone to withhold information concerning animal abuse for more than 48 hours, not because he's worried about animal abuse, but because prolonged investigations of that abuse can land meat farmers like himself in a lot of hot water.

          Opponents of HB 1191 rightfully claim the law is designed to limit the effectiveness of whistle blowers who attempt to film or document animal abuse at animal farms or horse training facilities.  This law, approved by both houses of Tennessee's General Assembly and awaiting the signature of our Republican Governor, would prevent animal rights organizations from compiling evidence against agrifarmers who abuse their livestock. 

           And Rep. Holt isn't fond of those animal rights organizations or the people who support them. 

           When Kayci McLeod, the public policy coordinator of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote to Holt asking him to oppose the new Ag-Gag bill, Holt fired off this email response:

“I am extremely pleased that we were able to pass HB 1191 today to help protect livestock in Tennessee from suffering months of needless investigation that propagandist groups of radical animal activists, like your fraudulent and reprehensibly disgusting organization of maligned animal abuse profiteering corporatists, who are intent on using animals the same way human-traffickers use 17 year old women,” he replied.

You work for a pathetic excuse for an organization and a pathetic group of sensationalists who seek to profit from animal abuse. I am glad, as an aside, that we have limited your preferred fund-raising methods here in the state of Tennessee; a method that I refer to as ‘tape and rape.’ Best wishes for the failure of your organization and it’s true intent.”

            When local country music entertainer Carrie Underwood tweeted her disgust with the proposed legislation, Rep. Holt went all Karl Rovian on her ass, tweeting that she should "stick to singing."  Remember when the Dixie Chicks were told to "Shut up and sing"?  Same basic argument:  you're merely an entertainer, so don't presume to share your lefty political opinions.  Leave the legislating to professionals...

             According to Nashville Gab, here's Underwood's tweet, followed by quotes from a recent interview Rep. Holt gave to the Weakley County Press:

 "Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who's with me?"

Well, in a brand new interview with The Weakley County Press, Holt declares his stance (again) on the issues and vows not to back down. He even takes his vicious shots at Carrie even further.
“Carrie Underwood is a self-proclaimed vegan vegetarian,” he says. “She has had entanglements with the Humane Society of the United States for years. She’s proven herself to be absolutely out in left field as it relates to a lot of these animal cruelty convictions, and for that reason, I guess in my mind she has marginalized herself."

He adds, “I think she has proven herself to be not somebody who is interested in the principle law-making decisions. She’s interested in brokering the emotion associated with animal abuse, and it is a very emotional topic for a lot of individuals.”

            If you go to Rep. Holt's own legislative website you'll find that he's in the meat bidness himself.  Talk about a vested interest in seeing this legislation through...

            But in reality, animal abuse sometimes takes a lot of time to prove and document. If a whistle blower is an employee of a farm or horse training facility, there are genuine concerns about retribution and retaliation to keep in mind.  Consider the abuse uncovered in this horrible case, which required a lot of time to document.  Had Holt's law been in effect, the abuse that later resulted in a conviction and this horse trainer being banned from the industry might never have been possible.

             Rep. Holt might have genuine concerns about animal cruelty in mind, there's no way for me to know the man's heart.  But his proposed law would make it much harder (and dangerous) to document proof of animal abuse in Tennessee, and that's a fact.

             His belligerent attitude toward his critics makes me think his motives are anything BUT altruistic or empathetic toward livestock.

             For what it's worth, he's now getting a lot of negative blowback, with heavy criticism that he claims includes death threats.

In light of his comments, he confesses that he's gotten quite a bit of overwhelming negative reaction (and for good reason, too). He's even received his fair share of death threats, and he says he's keeping a close eye on all his personal online accounts. He says there “are people out there who are just waiting to find out anything they can on me and use it as much as they possibly can.”
“I’ve had everything from death threats in the last couple weeks to just awful, terrible emails and phone calls that my secretary in Nashville has had to endure,” he continues. “People have gotten my personal cell phone number, personal email and the email to our (family) farm and written awful, awful things. It’s really kind of amazing how crazy — and I mean that literally — some folks are about some of these topics.”
On a similar note, he says it's nothing new to get these threats when working on such controversial legislation as animal rights.“These (‘radical animal activists’) are people who, for all practical purposes, this is their religion,” Holt said.



the yellow fringe said...

Red states are in a copy cat mode. Laws more or less like this are in a number of state houses right now. I think NC or SC just passed one too. Kansas even passed one for dog breeders. It is a criminal act to photograph a facility or the animals in a location where dogs are being raised for sale. I guess I could have the neighbor kid arrested for taking a picture of "Candy" and her pups.
This is just a further symptom of businesses having all the rights and money.

squatlo said...

YellowFringe, you have to watch their language, too. Whenever they're defending crazy bills they like to paint critics as somehow beyond the fringe wackos. Referring to animal rights organizations as "terrorists" or comparing them to sex slave traffic gangsters is common, too.

These guys are all in the pockets of the money boys, and they don't really give a rat's ass how badly they're thought of by their constituents.

Anonymous said...

"“I am extremely pleased that we were able to pass HB 1191 today to help protect livestock in Tennessee from suffering months of needless investigation that propagandist groups of radical animal activists, "

Is there an undiscovered planet out there somewhere, on which a statement like this makes sense? If so, it must be a planet on which cattle are the dominant lifeform. I'm sure even they are curious to know the reasoning behind this fundamentally stupid statement.

newbroom said...

This legislation seems to prevent the enjoyment of certain CONSTITUTIONAL rights? Free speech?

squatlo said...

Anon, I'm convinced the double-speak Orwell warned us about is like a native tongue to these assholes.

squatlo said...

Newbroom, you've got the right to speak whatever's on your mind, but you have only a day or two to make your words known or be held liable for contributing to the animal abuse you're attempting to stop. The entire enterprise is designed to stifle investigations before they can start, or prosecute the whistle-blower.