Monday, February 06, 2006

Missouri Senator Stouffer Uses Terrorism

Missouri Republican Senator Stouffer is out to stop people from photographing or videotaping Missouri's puppy mills, hog farms and chicken houses. He has introduced Senate Bill 615 (pdf), which would not only require express written permission to enter a farm and make such photos and videotapes, but would also make it a crime to possess or distribute any photographic, video or electronic images from within an animal facility.

Why are pictures of farms worthy of such attention? Because Moark, a corporate farm in Neosho, got caught on videotape dumping live, injured chickens, and wound up having to pay $100,000 to build a Humane Society facility as part of a settlement with the local prosecutor. Stouffer defends corporate farmers, so they will continue to make campaign contributions to him.

All this is typical politics with another corrupt Missouri republican, of course. What stinks to high heaven, though, is that Stouffer is attempting to justify this unnecessary special-interest legislation by pointing to terrorism:
Stouffer said his bill was largely meant to protect “the food supply” during the present time of terrorists threats.

“The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) says our food supply is the most vulnerable target for terrorist attacks,” Stouffer maintained. “This bill will tighten things up a little bit and put some teeth in the statutes by broadening the law.”
Let's stop right here, okay? Using terrrorism as an excuse to pass special-interest legislation protecting cruel chicken farms is simply unacceptable. I sincerely doubt that Al Qaeda is videotaping the pig farms of Neosho, and, if they are, I doubt they will be stopped by the prospect of a local cop enforcing this law.

Senator Stouffer, quit relying on the threat of terrorism to accomplish your political goals.

(Note: This bill is now in the Judicial and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee of the Missouri Legislature whose members include: Matt Bartle, R-8, Chair; Rob Mayer, R-25, Vice-Chair; Bill Alter, R-22; Jason Crowell, R-27; Jack Goodman,R-29; Chris Koster, R-31; Victor Callahan, D-11; Chuck Graham, D-19 and Charles Wheeler, D-10. Contacting them to oppose this bill may help in assuring its defeat.)


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