In today’s BG Daily News article “Dogfighting bills contested,” Jackson French focuses on the ongoing struggle between hunters’ rights groups and (as French incorrectly calls animal advocacy groups) “the humane society.”
For those of us who’ve been following the contentious evolution of Kentucky’s anti-dogfighting law, two obvious distortions leap from the page. The first comes from Kentucky Houndsmen Association president Doug Morgan, who told French that SB 14 “was written with input from members of the Houndsmen and HSUS, meaning ‘everybody got their chance.'” No word on whether Mr. Morgan’s nose grew measurably longer when he said that. The fact of the matter is the Senate Ag Committee chair met secretly with hunting lobby representatives to add “primary purpose” language and “nationally accredited organizations” exemptions in SB 14. Not only was HSUS excluded from this meeting, so were the other animal advocacy groups who were working with Senate leadership on SB 14. And worst of all, criminal prosecutors weren’t welcome either — which resulted in a committee sub that would effectively make dogfighting impossible to punish under Kentucky law.
The second fabrication is from none other than Kentucky Senator Robin Webb, who despite all evidence to the contrary insists that the Humane Society of the United States plans to outlaw hunting in Kentucky. “Their agenda to end hunting is well known,” she said. “It’s no secret.”
Just one problem, Senator: it’s widely known that HSUS has neither the desire nor the means to ban hunting in Kentucky. But let’s pretend, for the sake of argument, that there really is some “well known” (yet covert) plot within the Humane Society to lock up millions of Kentucky hunters. Not only would HSUS have to somehow overturn Kentucky’s constitutional amendment that guarantees the right to hunt; it would also have to get real anti-hunting bills past the General Assembly — a legislative body made up of more than a handful of hunting enthusiasts.