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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tennessee State Representative Andy Holt (R) has introduced an amendment to HB 1191 that would make it a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a $10,000 fine to videotape animal cruelty and not hand it over to the authorities within 48 hours. This legislation sounds as if it’s designed to prevent profiting from or celebrating cruel dog- or cock-fighting.

But Holt, a pig farmer, has identified the real goal of the bill — making it easier to abuse animals.

At a hearing he said, “radical animal activist groups” have spent months taking videos of alleged animal abuse, likely referencing a case in 2012 when the Humane Society released footage of a trainer abusing a horse.

“I think this is something that we need to be doing, not only to protect our animal industries here in the state against these animal activists that have caused great economic harm to some, but also to protect the animals themselves. That is the ultimate intention of this bill,” Holt said.

So he wants to protect animals?

“Baloney,” writes the editorial board of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Its transparent purpose is to prevent animal-rights advocates from quietly accumulating sufficient documentation to show a court that animal cruelty is wrongly and deliberately used in some slaughterhouses and animal training facilities.”

The editorial goes on to describe how a reporter from the Times Free Press documented the process of “regularly soring” Tennessee Walking horses—soring involves “chemicals, chains around the front hooves, and screws pressed into the top of the thick shoe pads that are strapped and chained to the horses’ front feet”—to compel the animal to perform a high-stepping movement called “the big lick.” Documenting this cruelty requires a case to be built over weeks.

So where did Holt get the idea — nay! — the exact language for his bill?

The Times Free Press blames the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the right-wing organization behind the carbon-copied, NRA-approved “Stand Your Ground” laws. The Koch brothers-supported group’s fingerprints were all over the anti-union legislation that was rammed through Michigan’s legislature at the end of 2012 in the form of language that was literally cut and pasted from one of their model bills.

“Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: It gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding,” The Nation‘s Lisa Graves reported in 2011.

If you paste a sentence from Holt’s bill into a search engine, you’ll find identical wording was submitted in a bill before New Hampshire’s state legislature earlier this year. So called “Ag-Gag” bills have also been considered in Arkansas, Nebraska and Wyoming.

And it isn’t just the horse-training industry interested in making it difficult to film animal cruelty, of course.

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18 Responses to Koch-Funded ALEC Wants To Make It Harder To Document Animal Abuse

  1. It is illegal to film a cop beating someone up and now, unless you turn the tape over to the “authorities” within a certain time, it is illegal to film animal abuse.

    Lets see….what do animals, cops and republiCONs all have in common?

    wrong analogy, animals have morals.

    republiCONS love to protect criminals….

  2. The kind of creeps who can abuse an animal, a child, or any other facet of society is not the type of creep I want sharing my world.

  3. How does this asshole Andy Holt and the Kochs live with themselves? Must not have any children, or at least none with normal feelings.

  4. Only in this crazy ass state that I live in, do they want to protect animal abuser. Yet in Memphis, they closed down the Animal Shelter due to animal abuse. Once they fired everyone involved, they opened back up. Now what???

  5. Boycott meat. It is produced by suffering and cruelty. The Kochs and their ALEC lobby depend on our addiction to meat in order to own us. They do not want us to know how factory farms operate. Are you their slave?

    • I’m a vegetarian too Judy. Since I was a child. Comes from growing up in a rural area and watching pigs being slaughtered as a kid. It was absolutely terrible to watch.

  6. They’re actually pushing a farm bill that would make it much harder to document calves being skinned alive among other things. At what point does a political movement cross the line from being simply another political philosophy, or the flip side of the ideological coin from the governing party…..and become just plain fu—-g evil? At what point?

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