Category Archives: Political

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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March 2nd Lobby Day on the Hill for Animals

The Humane Society of the United States invites you to participate in the Tennessee Humane Lobby Day at the Tennessee State Capitol Building where you’ll meet directly with your elected officials about legislation that will significantly impact animals.
Please RSVP at: http://action.humanesociety.org/site/Calendar/1798894681?view=Detail&id=101581

“I’m going and I hope to see you there too!”-Val

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Planned Parenthood response to Superbowl ad

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It’s Back To Court In New Jersey For Gay Marriage | On Top Magazine :: Gay & Lesbian News, Entertainment, Commentary & Travel

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via It’s Back To Court In New Jersey For Gay Marriage | On Top Magazine :: Gay & Lesbian News, Entertainment, Commentary & Travel.

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Jehmu Greene New President of Women’s Media Center

Women’s Media Center Announces
Selection of New President Jehmu Greene
Former Rock the Vote Head is an Alumna of the WMC’s Prestigious Progressive Women’s Voices Leadership Program

jehmu_greene

October 28, 2009 (New York, New York) — The Women’s Media Center (WMC), a leading media advocacy and training organization announces today that its board has unanimously chosen a new president: Jehmu Greene. Founded in 2005 by Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan, The Women’s Media Center works to make women more visible and powerful in the media, and is a nationally prominent voice fighting sexism and bias.

“We are thrilled to have someone as accomplished, talented and visionary as Jehmu Greene as our next president,” said WMC Board Chair Helen Zia, “with her proven commitment to progressive social change and feminist principles. We are very proud that she will be building on the strong foundation established by Carol Jenkins, our founding president, to lead The Women’s Media Center to the next level.”

Throughout her career, Jehmu Greene has skillfully worked with the media to build powerful social justice movements. A frequent commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and elsewhere, Greene helmed Rock the Vote, the largest youth voter registration group. Under her leadership, its membership grew from 1500 to over 1 million. Earlier this year, Greene participated in the WMC’s nationally recognized leadership and media training program, Progressive Women’s Voices, which has trained over 60 progressive thought leaders who have achieved over 4000 media hits in the two years that the program has existed.

“The Women’s Media Center is breaking down barriers and leading the way to make sure that women’s voices are powerfully represented in the ever-changing media landscape,” said Greene. “Participating in the Progressive Women’s Voices program enabled me to amplify my advocacy efforts. I am thrilled to join an incredible group of feminists working to harness the power of the media to create positive social change from the boardroom to the broadcast booth.”

A native of Austin, Greene got her start working in the fertile ground of Texas politics including an early stint with Governor Ann Richards’ campaign in 1994. Greene later played key roles at both the Center for Policy Alternatives and the Democratic National Committee, where she ran the women’s office. An advisor and national surrogate for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Greene has worked on over 20 political campaigns at the local, state and national level. The recipient of many awards from organizations including Essence Magazine, the National Conference for Community and Justice, the National Council of Research on Women, the American Association of University Women and others, Greene has served on numerous boards of directors for various media, politics and social justice organizations.

Greene follows The Women’s Media Center founding president Carol Jenkins, who has led the WMC for the past four years. An Emmy award-winning former journalist and documentary producer, Carol Jenkins is a writer, media analyst and media consultant. Jenkins will continue with the WMC in the role of senior advisor and founding president emerita.

“The WMC is extraordinarily fortunate to have this gifted young woman as our next leader,” said Carol Jenkins. “I am a long-time admirer of Jehmu’s incredible work-so I can watch with pride, pleasure and confidence as the organization grows exponentially. The fact that she’s one of our own makes it perfect.”

Ms. Jenkins leaves the WMC to focus on the health of women and girls in the U.S. and developing countries and will continue to advocate for an inclusive media. She serves on the U.S. board of The African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF), the largest health organization on the African continent. Jenkins is also the co-author, with her daughter, Elizabeth Hines, of Black Titan: AG Gaston and the Making of an African American Millionaire, a biography of her uncle and winner of Best Non-Fiction Book from the American Library Association’s Black Caucus.

A celebration to honor Carol Jenkins’ work and welcome Jehmu Greene to The Women’s Media Center will be held in New York’s Phillips Club on November 2. Jehmu Greene will become president of The Women’s Media Center on November 16. For more information about the celebration, to buy tickets, or to interview Jehmu Greene or Carol Jenkins, please contact Tristin Aaron or Rebekah Spicuglia, (office) 212-563-0680; (Tristin cell) 718-938-4078; (Rebekah cell) 415-290-2970; tristin@womensmediacenter.com; rebekah@womensmediacenter.com.

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WWII vet speaks out for equality

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Iqreport #12 NEM: Keep Your Promise (Mr President)

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