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Posted on: April 20, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Last updated: September 22, 2017 at 3:17 pm

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet…”

Thanks Shakespeare. But why would we call a rose anything other than a rose? Well, if there was a law telling us we couldn’t call those wonderful flowers “roses” we’d have to call them something else, right? What if a law was passed saying animals weren’t considered “animals” anymore?

A bill has been passed in Arizona to help protect the lobbyists, and harm livestock. Livestock – not animals.

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You see, this bill – HB2150 – states that farm animals within Arizona borders are not considered “animals” when it comes to cases of cruelty, neglect, and abandonment. This seriously lessens the chances of farmers with horrible practices being stopped.

The bill also states that when animal abuse, sorry – LIVESTOCK abuse cases are reported, officers must clearly identify why they are coming.

“Hi Farmer”

“Hello Officer, what seems to be the problem?”

“I’ve heard there’s some problems with abuse, neglect, and abandonment regarding your animals. I’ll be coming to check on that, but I’ll give you some time to, you know, clean up.”

“Well thanks for tipping me off, Officer.”

“No problem, just following orders.”

That’s what everyone who tries to wash their hands of the situation would say. And now, everyone’s got blood on their hands. We could have caught the abuser red-handed, instead he suffers no consequences. The only ones who suffer are the animals.

“P.s.,” the Farmer could say, “I don’t have ‘animals’ on my farm, just livestock.”

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Any investigation of abuse or mistreatment must first inform the Department of Agriculture, which totally jeopardizes the investigation to begin with. The bill effectively exempts farm animals from the anti-cruelty code stating that, inside the borders of Arizona, the term ‘animal’ does not include livestock.

The people of Arizona did not want this. It was never put to them. Elected officials passed the bill for the people who would profit – the big donors, organizations like Arizona Cattleman’s Association, and the lobbyists that persuade/ pay them. The bill was passed without hearing the voice of the people who elected these elected officials.

Not every politician was swayed however. Gov. Ducey used his first veto wisely, and had HB2150 shot down. “We all agree animal cruelty is inexcusable and absolutely will not be tolerated in the state of Arizona,” he said. “No animal should be the victim of abuse. Moreover, perpetrators must be held to account and properly penalized to the fullest extent of the law.”

Well done Governor. And well done citizens, who called, messaged, and made sure Gov. Ducey was aware.

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