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Join the War on Cruelty 

Join the War on Cruelty

Getting rid of the sales tax on groceries, and raising the severance tax on natural gas, were ideas whose time had (finally) come. Both were approved by the legislature, with leadership from Gov. Mike Beebe.

Getting tough on animal cruelty is building the same sort of good-government momentum. Anti-cruelty bills have been introduced in every legislative session in recent years, and the opponents are finding them harder to defeat, in part because the public's impatience with the cruelty lobby is growing. Last year, the Farm Bureau and other poultry and livestock interests managed to beat an anti-cruelty bill again, but for the first time, they seemed to be looking over their shoulder, considering concessions. Now is the time for friends of animals to keep pushing. The War on Cruelty needs you. 

The governor, who has not been deeply involved with the animal-cruelty issue previously, has said he believes it's time Arkansas joined the other states in punishing those who torture animals. And he's suggested he might be able to persuade the Farm Bureau to open its eyes and its heart. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has said that making animal cruelty a felony will be one of his top priorities at the 2009 legislative session. “You should not be able to put a ferret in a microwave, and as soon as you pay your fine, go home and put another ferret in the microwave,” McDaniel said. Every legislator should agree. Every voter should make sure that every legislator does. Sen. Sue Madison of Fayetteville says her anti-cruelty bill for the 2009 session has been refined to meet every reasonable objection. Farm Bureau obstructionists will have no place to hide. And hopefully, animal torturers will be made to understand that they're no longer welcome in Arkansas.  

 

One is not enough

“Giant sinkhole swallows Texas town,” the headline read, and across the USA, silent prayers went up: “Please let it be Midland. … Make it Frisco, and I'll never ask for anything else. … Plano, Plano, Plano!” Millions strained to hear mention of Crawford. Cheers erupted when TV commentators declared the hole to be growing in size; schoolchildren clapped excitedly at the announcement (later admitted to be a horrible mistake) “Sinkhole Does Dallas.”

But Texas is among the larger states, and there is just so much that a lone sinkhole can do. In a few days, the hole was contained, with only one small and relatively inoffensive community under its belt. For a moment, though — dare we call it Camelot? — Americans pulled together, undistracted by political, religious or racial differences. If it happened once, it can happen again. We say, Remember the sinkhole!

 

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