Many states need an upgrade of their animal cruelty laws- including Ohio.
I even believe that if we treat the animals with more compassion, it will spill over abundantly to people concerns in general as well.
Truth be told --there are 16 states which need to upgrade their animal
cruelty laws even more than Ohio. We are in the AVERAGE category. This surprises me though because I was crestfallen and incredulous when I heard the sentence given the Wiles pig farm owners near Canton, Ohio.
Humane Farming had videotaped them tossing sick baby pigs around like footballs and hoisting and hanging the mature pigs -- watching them dangle in the air as the rope slowly and painfully squeezed the last breath of life from them. Though found guilty, one son was given a paltry $100 fine and probation because of the weak Ohio animal cruelty laws. If we are considered an "average" state, you can well imagine what goes on with the animals in other states- both AVERAGE and the WORST.
Animal Legal Defense identified the WORST states on a map of the US. The 16 states painted black were labeled the WORST. They are: Indiana, Texas, Kentucky, the Dakotas, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alaska.
Even though Ohio is not among the worst, I would like Ohio to be numbered among the BEST. They are: California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, W. Virginia, and Wisconsin.
In 1998 Ohio had a chance for a much needed upgrade when then Ohio House Representative Tiberi introduced House Bill 108. I was eager and anxious to help promote it and tried to enlist the children of the Cleveland Diocese. I thought it a wonderful opportunity to teach compassion, civics, and letter writing. Either the Sister Superintendent didn't agree or was unable to act on my request because I received a negative answer. Sadly, the bill did not pass. Obviously, there weren't enough northern Ohioans to counter the vested interests of the southern farming communities.
Yesterday a Cleveland Plain Dealer's internet article caught my eye: Animal Cruelty Legislation up for Debate. I was estatic. District 41's Ohio State Rep. Brian Williams has introduced HB 418 which would increase the penalties for cruelty to animals and would also allow victims of domestic violence to include their pets on protection orders. HB 415, also introduced, would make dog fighting and cockfighting a felony offense. Presently it is only a misdeamor.
Annette Fisher of Happy Trails Farm Sanctuary in Ravenna, Ohio testified about caring for roosters that Lorain County sheriff's deputies confiscated last year during a cockfight raid. She said:
"Once beautiful chickens had three-quarters of their lower body's feathers shaved and plucked. Several of them held their bloody eyes and heads down onto their chest because their pain was too much to bear to stand upright. A few were blind in at least one eye. Many were missing their back-toe spurs, which were torn or cut off.
"All of them were exremely thin, hungry and fearful. When they realized we weren't going to hurt them and they weren't being thrown into a fight, many settled down comfortably in my arms. One reddish brown rooster, softly laid his head down on my shoulder while I carried him to the rescue trailer and relaxed. I named him Hemingway. I am conviced that Hemingway was, in his heart of hearts, a quiet soul who really didn't want to fight any more."
Happy Trails needs tarps, chicken feed, cracked corn, grit, oyster shell crumbles, straw and dog crates. Cash donations can be sent to 5623 New Milford Road, Ravenna, OH 44266 or made through the Web site www.happytrailsfarm.org. I certainly believe though my cash reserves are thin because of a home improvement loan, I will find some money to send.
These cocks whom I view as God's creatures deserve my love and concern.
Looking at our world at large and especially at the way we treat the animals, I am reminded of the contest held in the England of the great writer G.K. Chesterton. Whoever could best answer in the shortest essay WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD TODAY would be the winner. GK won the contest with his two word essay - I AM.
Would that we too accept responsibility for the world's ills --especially those which we can address. Recognition would I believe be the beginning of a better world - not only for the animals but for anyone who suffers. If you are an Ohioan and care about God's animal creatures, please find out who is your Ohio State Representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor and support both bills -HB 418 and 415. Let's find another reason to be proud of Ohio. But more - let's find another reason to be proud of ourselves.