American and World Report
Animal Lovers and Others
by Alan Caruba
November 4, 2004
People say that all the really bad liberal ideas start in California and then ooze out from the left coast to cover the rest of the nation. Not so. I believe that New Jersey is ignored for its egregiously stupid, liberal ideas, and I want to set the record straight.
Until November 15, we still have a disgraced Governor, James E. McGreevey, who will leave in his wake a State whose bonds are approaching “junk” status and his very own Animal Welfare Task Force.
Recently, the State’s largest circulation newspaper, the Star-Ledger, got its hands on the nearly 200 pages of draft recommendations that are under review by the 30-member task force. One, I might add, a task force whose members largely represent the animal rights movement. In short, the task force, like just about every other government entity in the Garden State, is rigged.
Among the recommendations under consideration is the inclusion of animal abuse laws under the State’s criminal code, increasing penalties, and creating new prosecution units. This, by the way, would put animals on a par with humans, a status they do not enjoy anywhere else. Pained as they were, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, just tossed out a case representing the world’s whales, porpoises, and dolphins, saying they had no standing to sue the President over the U.S. Navy’s use of sonar equipment. Congress still shows no intention of granting animals the same status before the bar of justice as humans. This is a good thing.
One more reason for not giving criminal code status to animal abuse laws is the fact that every police force in the State would then have to enforce those laws and, in the process, might be distracted from things like homeland security or the pursuit of murderers, rapists, thieves, and drug dealers. Animal rights advocates, however, rarely show the slightest concern for the welfare of humans.
Another task force recommendation would ban chaining or tethering dogs for any reason. The next obvious step is to ban keeping them on a leash. Some dogs, though not the ones I know, need to be tethered. Even some dogs, if they could speak, would tell you this. However, they can only bark. They’re dogs, not humans.
The task force also wants state regulations that would permit people to create--get ready--free roaming, neutered feral (wild) cat colonies “to reduce euthanizing unwanted cats.” I am not sure how one goes about neutering a wild cat, but such details are of little concern to the task force. What is important is that the crazy old lady at the end of the street who feeds or keeps 30, 40 or 50 cats will be free to do so. Remember to stay down wind from her house.
It gets better or worse, depending on your point of view. The task force wants to make it a “mandatory duty” for veterinarians and everyone involved in animal care to report animal cruelty. This would put such behavior, despicable as it is, on a par with child abuse, a criminal act that most people believe is of far greater importance. Here again, law enforcement authorities would have to divert their personnel from crimes of considerably more significance.
And did I mention the task force wants to require towns to offer animal control services 24 hours a day, seven days a week? If you think property taxes are high now, just watch them rise if this recommendation becomes law. More than 120,000 stray animals are picked up annually from the streets of New Jersey. Animal shelters are filled to over-flowing, and, yes, most end up being euthanized because they will never be adopted.
The State’s Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection recently announced that bear hunters would be banned from all parks and wildlife management areas under the control of the DEP. New Jersey held its first bear hunt in 33 years last year to cull the estimated 3,200 bears roaming the most densely populated State in America. This year, though, DEP Commissioner, Bradley Campbell, has refused to process more than 3,000 applications filed by hunters. What is his and fellow animal rights advocates’ answer to the problem? A bear birth control program. You just cannot make up stuff like this. A longer bear-hunting season will have the same effect and actually put money into the State’s coffers. The ban is being challenged in the courts.
None of this even begins to deal with the estimated 170,000 deer that freely roam the State, a source of endless auto accidents that kill the deer and, occasionally, drivers and passengers. It doesn’t touch on the thousands of federally protected Canadian Geese that befoul parks, golf courses, and other campus settings.
I have no doubt that the departing Governor’s Task Force on Animal Welfare will spawn a raft of very bad legislation to make life miserable for animal owners and others. As it is, without waiting for the full report, the State’s Health Department has added an Office of Animal Welfare to insure that the over-worked personnel at shelters be properly certified and a raft of inspectors be hired to monitor the shelters.
If some of these animal rights recommendations become law in New Jersey, you can be sure that advocates in every other State will seize upon that fact to introduce them in yours. Meanwhile, in California, the beloved and much protected cougars will continue to make dinner of the occasional jogger. The condors, a specie of vulture, which the federal government spent millions to “save”, will no doubt clean up the mess the cougars leave behind.
Alan Caruba of The National Anxiety Center maintains an Internet site at www.anxietycenter.com. Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the site and excerpted widely on many others. Alan's new book, "Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy" has been published by Merril Press. In 2003, a collection of his columns was published by Merril Press. Alan can be reached at: email@example.com
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