Confusing story out of Arizona, concerning proposed animal-cruelty laws

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I’m not quite sure what to make of an article posted March 11 on the Arizona Daily Sun website – under the headline: “Lawmakers create cruelty exceptions for farm animals.”

The story starts out as reporting the state legislature had created special exceptions in regard to acts of animal cruelty, for farmers and ranchers. (Translated – “factory farms.”)

So apparently two provisions were removed, so that factory farms could be protected. But then we read that one of the provisions removed would have stripped the power from police departments to investigate acts of cruelty on the farms. The power would have completely fallen under the Department of Agriculture.

If that provision had remained, police would not have been able to investigate the abuse of the horses, goats and sheep in back yards. But then the article suggests new language was added to allow police to investigate and alert the Department of Agriculture.

But the we read where:

Also gone is a mandate that anyone with a video, photograph or other evidence of cruelty must turn that over to the Department of Agriculture within five days or risk jail time and a fine.

It seems to me allowing police to investigate animal cruelty on farms and removing ag-gag regulations would be opposed by factory farms and would not be considered as exceptions for factory farms.

The one aspect reported from the new bill that does go easy on farmers is one that set a penalty of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine if the act of abuse is inflected on a farm animal. The article notes:

Existing laws make many forms of abuse of any animal, farm or domestic, a felony with potentially two years in state prison and a $150,000 fine.

But then the articles notes the measure might not gain passage unless the concerns of farmers and ranchers are addressed, as if they are not yet getting any special treatment in the bill.

So is it that the farmers and ranchers want complete immunity from charges if they are found to be abusing animals and do they not even like the lesser charges included in the bill, even though the story seems to indicated they are getting exceptions?

Wow. We need some clarification here.

 

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