HB 3386 update: Making it a felony to abuse Horses and other farm animals

I have this thought going around my head…”it’s not about doing the right thing, it’s about playing the game…”

I spent the morning watching democracy (I think) on capitol hill. Rep. Janice Sontany introduced HB 3386 to the agriculture committee. Actually I don’t know how she and others do this kind of work because it’s like watching paint dry. The first few hours waiting for her bill to come up, we heard about a bill to ban “Terminator seed” corn. Representatives spoke from big companies like Monsanto and Dupont. A long free exchange took place with committee members asking questions, making comments etc. Then it was time for HB3386.

The bill would make it a felony to starve or withhold water from horses and other farm animals. Seems like a no brainer doesn’t it? Who would want to stand in the way of protecting these innocent animals and why? The case of the 84 starving horses from cannon county brought media attention to a problem in Tennessee. A state representative, Janis Sontany, went down to see the horses when they were at the fairgrounds. She met with the humane society folks and promised to try and help. She wrote a bill to increase the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony for anyone doing such things to their animals.

Farm Bureau Insurance is against her bill and packed the room with agents from around the state. So here’s the picture: a bunch of guys sitting in all the chairs in the room and all the women including me (& a few men) supporting the bill, left standing in the aisles. The committee for the most part is against the bill too. 3 outside people spoke in favor of it (very eloquently) and were told before they walked up to the podium to “keep it brief.” (a sheriff, a rescue person & a rancher) In an effort to discredit one of the speakers a committee member asked one guy if he supported horse slaughter. (I guess if you don’t that makes you an “animal rights activist.” Is that a bad thing BTW? Oh a straw man question was also thrown out…”would you like to protect farm animals or children?” Well sir, I’d like to do BOTH! Standing silent through all this was quite a challenge. After the 3 speakers the bill was put off until next week.

It’s going to take people to get involved in this fight to help stop abuse of horses in Tennessee.

So why is Farm Bureau so opposed to the bill? I spoke with several agents outside in the hallway and here’s what I heard. One guy said he owns a backhoe and buries dead horses “all the time,” that people couldn’t afford to feed. He doesn’t think those people should be made criminals. It should be noted that the Farm Bureau Ins company does support horse slaughter and that was banned in Tennessee last year. Apparently that issue “isn’t dead” and a new bill may be coming up again for that too. I’d love to see if anybody connected with any new horse slaughter bills would stand to gain $$$ by a bill like that passing again. Follow the money…money and horses in Tennessee have a shady history. That’s true when there’s a lot of money involved anywhere. No different in this case.

Another Farm Bureau agent said he thinks farmers are being threatened by animal lovers that never stepped foot on a farm. Almost everyone I saw there supporting HB3386 have horses and farms. Most of the people I met at the fairgrounds volunteering to help with the rescued horses were horse owners themselves, owned farms and/or worked in the horse industry. We don’t want to stop farmers from earning a living. We want to stop greedy horse brokers that buy dozens of horses cheap in the hope they can make money on the best of the lot. The rest, too weak, skinny or sick to sell get put on private acreage to die. There are a few ignorant back yard horse owners but the main problem i think are these brokers, traders if you will. Horses are a thing to sell like a car. Well, they are not a “thing.” They are a living being and they feel pain and suffer. Tennessee law looks the other way and at the most will slap an occasional wrist. That’s wrong and if that stays the case, then Tennessee is not the “horse country” I thought it was.

We can do better. Rep. Sontany can’t go up against these guys alone. She’s offered to step in front of the parade but it’s up to all of us to fall in and march. If you make a living in the Tennessee horse industry now would be a good time to call Janis Sontany’s office and offer to help. Anyone else too…Farm Bureau associate members speak out. The Farm Bureau Ins company is saying “they represent thousands of members.” Have they ask you how you feel about this issue? These magnificent animals have no voice unless we lend them ours. Call the people on the agriculture committee and tell them to support HB3386. Call the Farm Bureau Insurance Company and tell them (if you’re a member) that they don’t represent your views on this issue.

Pass this along to everyone you know.
Thanks, Val Reynolds/Avalonfarms@hughes.net

The members of the House Agriculture Committee are: Committee OfficersStratton Bone, Chair (615) 741-7086 rep.stratton.bone@capitol.tn.govDale Ford, Vice Chair (615) 741-1717 rep.dale.ford@capitol.tn.govWillie Butch Borchert, Secretary (615) 741-6804 rep.willie.borchert@capitol.tn.gov MembersEddie Bass (615) 741-1864 rep.eddie.bass@capitol.tn.govChad Faulkner (615) 741-3335 rep.chad.faulkner@capitol.tn.govCurits ;Halford (615) 741-7478 rep.curtis.halford@capitol.tn.govJohn Litz (615) 741-6877 rep.john.litz@capitol.tn.govSteve McDaniel (615) 741-0750 rep.steve.mcdaniel@capitol.tn.govFrank Niceley (615) 741-4419 rep.frank.niceley@capitol.tn.govJohnny Shaw (615) 741-4538 rep.johnny.shaw@capitol.tn.govTerri Lynn Weaver (615) 741-2192 rep.terri.lynn.weaver@capitol.tn.govJohn Mark Windle (615) 741-1260 rep.john.windle@capitol.tn.gov

http://www.nashvillescene.com/2010-03-11/news/the-worst-case-of-equine-abuse-in-Tennessee-history-shocked-the-state-so-why-is-legislation-that-would-stop-the-abuse-meeting-so-much-resistance/

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6 Comments

Filed under 1, Political, The Horse Arena

6 responses to “HB 3386 update: Making it a felony to abuse Horses and other farm animals

  1. Becky Harstad

    On the surface HB3386 seems like a good thing to have. However, there are already laws in place with which to deal with animal cruelty of the type with the horses. There is no need to add to the unnecessary and unenforceable laws. Just inforce those already on the books. Rep. Sontany is in the clutches of the H$U$, a lobbyist group posing as an animal welfare group who are also in a bit of hot water with the IRS and have a RICO suit against them at this time. H$U$ are not the local humane society and they contribute less than 1/2 of 1 percent of the money that is donated to them with the express purpose of giving to the “Humane Society”. H$U$ is a terrorist group affiliated with both PETA and ALF and are not in reality interested in protecting animals but, instead, they are more interested in the elimination of all owned animals and pets. No more animal slavery; no more breeding of animals; no more domesticated animals of any kind. Wayne Pacelle, head of the H$U$, has been quoted “One generation and out” pertaining to the enforced sterilization of the nation’s pet population. And Rep. Sontany is a fully indoctrinated member of the H$U$ and has a full slate of anti animal/anti animal ownership bills on the books for this session. HB3386 and all of Sontany’s other anti animal bills need to be removed from consideration and steps need to be taken to get Rep. Sontany out of the legislature before she can do more damage to the State of Tennessee and its animals and animal owners.

  2. “there are already laws in place with which to deal with animal cruelty of the type with the horses…”
    It is a misdemeanor now which isn’t acted upon as seriously as felony counts. A felony may get reduced to a misdemeanor but a misdemeanor may just get thrown out.

    “There is no need to add to the unnecessary and unenforceable laws…”
    HB3386 is necessary and since when have we been unable to enforce laws in Tennessee? Should we just do away with all of them?

    “H$U$ is a terrorist group affiliated with both PETA and ALF and are not in reality interested in protecting animals but, instead, they are more interested in the elimination of all owned animals and pets…”
    Sounds inflammatory and rather a rather hollow argument that you would resort to calling them names…and terrorist group no less? Get a grip. Character assassination is not going to win your argument here. Some of the things the National Humane Society and the Tennessee Humane Society have done include ending cock fighting in Tennessee (they lobbied for almost 10 years on that one) and last year they succeeded in helping to end horse slaughter here. I’d say they are pretty effective at what they do and piss off the other side in the process…hence your post…

    “Rep. Sontany is a fully indoctrinated member of the H$U$ and has a full slate of anti animal/anti animal ownership bills on the books for this session…”
    Yes! Finally someone in the legislature is listening to us. Thank you Rep Sontany for all your hard work on this issue and others. It’s been a “good ole boy club” and some protection laws are finally making it through. Greed has been directing things for a long time and cases like the on in Cannon County have gone unpunished for years. A society is judged by how it takes care of the least among it.

    “HB3386 and all of Sontany’s other anti animal bills need to be removed from consideration and steps need to be taken to get Rep. Sontany out of the legislature before she can do more damage to the State of Tennessee and its animals and animal owners…”
    The Agriculture Committee is attempting do do that. They just moved HB 3386 to next week along with some other animal cruelty bills so they can do away with all of them in one fell swoop. Well, they may succeed this time but I’m not giving up and neither is anybody else. We are going to bring Tennessee into the 21st century even if it’s kicking and screaming along the way. The horses and other animals in Tennessee don’t have a voice and they are counting on us to speak for them.

  3. Funny,I always thought farmers (all farmers) were the kind of folks that took care of animals whether they to be eventually be butchered or were work horses. I am not a farmer but I am a person, as is my wife, conscious of our responsibilities with pets and farm animals. Although I am not a farmer, my dad grew up on a farm and I visited farm relatives every summer as I was growing up. I never witnessed any cruelty to the animals in their care.
    How can anyone justify cruelty to these animals?

    This is a no-brainer. The bill should be passed. Shame on the Farm Bureau.

  4. I agree with you Don and I don’t think the problem is even with farmers. I think a handful of “bad apples” trying to make a quick buck off of horse trading is the problem. They go to auctions and “free” ads and gather as many as they can. The ones that have enough weight on them they turn around and sell or ship to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. The ones left they turn out in a private lot to die…if they get caught it’s just a misdemeanor so it will either get thrown out or they may get a small fine. There were more of these guys when slaughter here was legal. The Farm Bureau supports bringing that back too. They hold a lot of sway with the Agriculture committee and if the bill can’t get out of that committee it won’t go anywhere.

  5. JAMES D MARCUM

    I AM MISSING SOMETHING HERE>>ANYONE THAT WOULD NOT WANT TO PROTECT ANY LIVING CREATURE FROM SUFFERING IS NOT OF THIS WORLD! I’M NO TREE HUGGER LEFT, MIDDLE,OR OUTSIDE! DO WHAT IS RIGHT!!!!! I WAS STRONGLY CONSIDERING FARMB I.NEVER>>>> AND ANYBODY WHO ASKS I TELL THEM SAME FBI NEVER.

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