What’s happening in Oklahoma is not OK for the animals

The Oklahoma State House of Representatives recently passed bill HB 2250 with the specific intent of preventing national animal welfare organizations from advancing humane policies and practices within the state.

HB 2250 prohibits national animal organizations from raising money in Oklahoma for any purpose outside the state or any “animal rights” organization from raising money in Oklahoma for political purposes inside or outside the state. It should be noted that there is no formal or legal distinction between animal rights, animal welfare and animal protection organizations.

Puppy mills, which are plentiful in the state, would be protected by this bill, as would other factory farming practices. Likewise, efforts by national organizations to tighten laws related to dogfighting and cockfighting would be curtailed. Oklahoma was the last state to outlaw cockfighting. The same goes for wildlife and equine issues.

It doesn’t stop there. If passed by the Oklahoma Senate, HB 2250 would have the effect of restricting Oklahomans’ ability to support national and international animal issues and stifling their ability to choose the charities and charitable work they support.

While such a law would clearly violate First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech on the part of national animal organizations, challenging such laws in court is onerous and expensive — unconstitutional or not.

The hypocrisy of this type of legislative overreach in a state where elected officials rail against big government would be comical, if its impact weren’t so damaging.

The agriculture industry profits off the pain of the animals trapped within its practices. Pain and suffering are the immediate and automatic consequences of treating living, feeling intelligent animals like commodities to be crowded, prodded, bred, sold and slaughtered like unfeeling objects. These practices are wrong, and the agriculture industry knows that when the public becomes aware of such practices, they oppose them.

It’s not animal welfare organizations that the agriculture industry should fear. Rather they should fear the public, the smartphone and the universal demand for transparency.

To paraphrase a great American: “They can run but they can’t hide.”

Together, we will Save Them All.

If you live in Oklahoma, please take action now.

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Gregory Castle