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Welcome to the Fear Factor Disgusting Legislative Food Challenge

Posted by Karel Minor in Uncategorized

The next time you balk at hearing a politician say that he or she voted for a crappy bit of legislation because it was better than nothing, remember the Gas Chamber ban and have a little sympathy.

Swallowing the gutted SB 1329 may be about as palatable as those semi-incubated duck eggs they make people eat for TV ratings but it is better than nothing.  Our legislators had a chance to pass a bill which would elevate the welfare of animals in Pennsylvania.  Instead, thanks reportedly to a Governor who thinks the only good government is a dead government, we have to make a decision.  Is it better to have shelters face turning animals away to face a potentially worse death on the street or to continue to allow gas chambers?

The answer is, of course, obvious.  We must ban gas chambers.  Now is the time since we have a bunch of freaked out legislators who are uncertain of the political winds and who all need a win which will let them crow about helping pets and get their picture taken with dogs.  Like the Puppy Mill bill, it has a chance to pass overwhelmingly because few, if any, will want to be on the wrong side of this landslide.  Since it is a law which will cost the government nothing and once again places all the cost and burden on charities, the Governor should sign it with glee.

The various factions will probably even get their way and avoid any explicit language stating that this law applies to commercial kennels.  They say that wording in other laws makes it “unnecessary”.  Of course, that never stops them from demanding such wording if they think it will pose a risk to hunting, guns, or food production, even when the same wording should make it unnecessary then, too.  If the clarification is such a non-issue, why the opposition to it?  I guess what is good for shooting the goose isn’t good for saving the gander.  We’ll wait and see how long it takes Joe Puppy Farmer to gas or shoot a dog and point to this in his defense.

However, passing it doesn’t mean we need to be happy about how we got here or the fact that we elect politicians to do hard work and make hard decisions, not kick the can down the road for the next class to pay for or the one after that.  Like most “no cost” options, the cost will simply get passed along to county and local government and to us.  Harrisburg has been making plenty of cuts lately.  Have your taxes gone down?

It’s always been easy for the Humane Society of Berks County to support this ban, even in its current bad form.  We have veterinarians, we have access to the right drugs, and we don’t have animal control contracts so we aren’t drowning in animals that will face euthanasia simply because there is no more room at the inn.  But we also have empathy and we know that we can’t just support things that are easy or good for us without making sure we help those who are not as fortunate.

Harrisburg had the chance to do that and they failed.  So, go ahead, pass SB 1329 and pass it swiftly.  But don’t expect a pat on the back for doing the very least you could have done for animals instead of the most.

No, legislators, we won’t balk when you say it’s the best you could get. We know what a limited commodity courage is these days. You have our deepest sympathies for your loss.


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