Help Andy Dinniman Turn the Sow’s Ear of SB 1329 Into a Silk PursePosted by in Uncategorized
We’ve had a week or two of simmering down from the hyperbolic extremes of learning that SB 1329, the gas chamber ban bill, passed unanimously in the Senate only to find that, after years of hard work and horse trading by everyone with even a peripheral interest in the matter to construct a strong, useful bill, virtually everything was stripped from it.
On seeing the, and with apologies to Andy, as much as I’d like to say “streamlined” the only appropriate word is, gutting of the bill, my reaction was like most who had been working to get it passed, and with double apologies for using a vulgar text-world colloquialism, “WTF?!” Rants were had all around. In the end, we have what we have, and it is a rarity in some ways. We have the purest of bills which does precisely one thing and one thing only: it bans the use of gas chambers for euthanasia in shelters, animal control facilities and vet offices in Pennsylvania.
We can bemoan it some more- and believe me, I did my share of moaning- or we can make the most of a bad situation. And while we’re at it, we can put to the test the supposed “small government” convictions which have reportedly brought us to this version of the bill.
The situation would seem pretty cut and dry. Reportedly, the Governor’s office will not sign anything which requires additional fees or regulation, even when the industry being regulated is literally begging for it like the animal welfare community is. That explains the stripping of all the well-crafted measures to allow for direct licensing of animal shelters so that shelters can directly purchase the correct euthanasia drugs, without needing to bow and scrape to a local vet if they don’t have one on staff, just like 17 other states allow.
I’m yet to see anyone go on the record supporting gas chambers. That would explain the unanimous Senate passage of the “streamlined” bill. Who in their right political mind wants to vote for gas chambers? By voting it out of their chamber, the Senators have handed the hot potato to their House peers.
This is where it gets interesting. We now have a bill which has nothing in it which the Governor or anyone else, except maybe the gas chamber manufacturing lobby, can object to. No new fees. No new regulations. No DEA issues (even if the ones raised were utterly bogus). Farmers can still do whatever they want. The NRA can crow that they have protected the time honored tradition of being able to shoot your own dog (somebody cue the end of Old Yeller and raise the flag). The only thing in this bill is a ban on gas chambers to euthanize pets in the remaining three or four places which use them in the entire state. Who could possibly object to this?
For starters, I think a few people assumed people like me in the animal welfare community would. As Gomer Pyle would say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!” You will find no opposition from us. For years there was concern by the sheltering community that a lack of access to the right euthanasia drugs might result in shelters with gas chambers simply closing their doors following a ban, causing a worse situation for animals. Guess what? While we’d like to see a direct licensing option, the vast majority, if not all, in our community have been saying what I’ve been saying: We would like direct licensing but we demand a ban no matter what and no strings attached if it’s the best we can get. No one can make the claim that we are stopping them from voting for a ban and getting it signed into law. It is simply not true.
Better yet, there are several of us on the record saying we will personally and organizationally provide the resources and oversight to any shelter using a gas chamber and which has no alternative to allow them to switch to the right euthanasia techniques. It will cost us money as a charity- and that’s the dirty little secret of all these cuts and “no new fees or taxes” rules, they just shift the cost to local government and charities- but we’ll get the money to do it. Better yet, there are a few very clever ideas out there, and I know Senator Dinniman has them, which would not only address these concerns without spending a dime of public money, but might even be to the government’s benefit.
There is nothing in this bill which will violate agriculture rights or gun rights or any Grover Norquist anti-tax pledges. There is no reason not to pass this bill in the House. None. Unless the leadership in the House supports gas chambers. If it passes in the House there is no reason for the Governor not to sign it. Unless he supports gas chambers.
A couple weeks ago I questioned the courage of our elected officials in my anger and frustration. Perhaps that was harsh. They can demonstrate that courage right now by scheduling a vote in the House, passing the bill, and getting it signed into law. They can show that they don’t stand behind an artifice of high minded governmental ethics which serves only to allow more pets to die in gas chambers.
Leaders of the House and Governor Corbett, Senator Dinniman did his part, along with the rest of the Senate who voted for this bill unanimously. Schedule SB 1329 for a vote in the House now. Pass SB 1329 now. Sign SB 1329 into law now.
Please do it now.
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