Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tell me what you think of this new political agenda

    It has long been known that those convicted of violent crimes had violent pasts even into their childhoods including the torture and murder of animals for amusement.  Murders and criminals convicted of abuse and violence had pasts of animal torture as children and teens.  Now the state of California and 16th district Senator Dean Florez is pushing for legislature to become the first state to enact an animal abuse registry for criminals convicted of felony animal abuse and repeat animal abusers to make it illegal for them to obtain ownership of pets as well as set legal fines and jail time.   The bill is targeted towards general animal abusers in addition to harsher convictions for anyone involved with animal fighting rings, pet hoarders, companion animal caretakers, and farmers. 
    The one problem with the bill is the funding and it's the biggest concern for top animal rights groups who are against Florez means of funding including a director from the Humane Society of the United States.  To pay up to $1 million to fund this bill, Florez is proposing there be a 2-3¢ tax per pound of pet food sold in the state to raise the funds but many organizations believe that it's not fair for the public to pay even more when so many have already left their pets at shelters due to rising costs.  Most support his idea of a registry but taxing pet food is not their way of generating funds.    
    Madeline Bernstein, President of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Los Angeles (ASPCA division) says, "there aren't a lot of felony convictions for animal abuse" though misdemeanors are much higher.  
    Dean Florez has been endorsed by the United Farm Workers of America and has worked with them in the past in matters of health in the agriculture industries for more inspections and safety workers investigating food companies;  " random inspections of individual operations by FDA officials occur roughly once every five years." "As for Cal-OSHA, according to its database, from February 2006 to February 2007 there were a total of 201 inspections, including for field sanitation, out of more than 79,000 farms in California. At that rate it will take 396 years to inspect every farm once.  By the way, there were just 51 inspections confirmed in the vegetable industry that year."
    Dean Florez has championed for years for animal rights and is the Chairman for the Food and Agriculture Committee in Congress.  He applauded Prop 2 for passing in California last election requiring facilities for animals must allow them in their areas the ability to lay down, turn around, and completely stand on all limbs without being hunched over.  This new measure is essentially an extension of that bill in addition to improving the sanitation of our animal food products.  His plan is to penalize slaughterhouses and make California a "no downed animals" state.  This means that very sick, injured, disabled animals cannot be determined a "downer" by the facility and taking in abusive means to the kill floor. reports that one slaughterhouse in California as well as others everywhere used shock prods, forklifts, or brutal dragging of these ill animals all the way to the kill floor.  Some were not even deathly ill or in bad shape not to mention eating diseased animals contributes to food-borne illnesses like Mad Cow.  There is an act H.R. 4356 regarding this matter.
    Florez is partnering with the Animal Legal Defense Fund for his bill SB 1277.  Florez is running for Lt. Governor in the upcoming election for the state of California.