Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Not That I Think We Should Electrocute Fur-Bearing Animals, But...

Capital Confidential reported this afternoon that the Governor has signed into law a bill that prohibits the electrocution of fur-bearing animals in the state. The idea is to force the fur farming industry, which apparently favors electrocution because it does little damage to the animal pelts, to adopt more humane ways of killing the animals.

The problem is that, as CapCon notes, "it's unclear whether any fur farms here use this method." I'm all for showing solidarity with our furry woodland friends, but I draw the line at spending tax dollars to draft, print, distribute, and send for the Governor's approval a bill that attacks a problem that may or may not even exist here.

This is just one particularly absurd example of the wasteful bill introduction (and in this case, adoption) that is common practice in New York. Bill introduction is a way for legislators to show their constituents that they care about an important issue. But this type of credit claiming, if left unchecked, is an extremely inefficient use of resources and, as we see today, can result in useless regulation cluttering our statutes.

Isn't it time to limit the number of bills each legislator may introduce? And while we're at it, shouldn't we require that each bill be submitted with a memo detailing FACTS that justify its passage? In this case, one measly paragraph of rhetoric just doesn't cut it:
JUSTIFICATION: Setting aside temporarily the debate over whether killing an animal for some exogenous benefit, such as the value of their fur, is morally and/or legally permissible, it stands to reason that no animal should suffer needlessly. Anal and genital electrocution is a severely inhumane way to bring about the desired death; it causes a protracted and painful cessation of life for the animal. At the very least, we have an interest in requiring those who kill animals to do so in a way that is adjudged humane and comports with the best practices as recognized by the "fur farming" industry.

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