3-301: A Lesson in Humanity
By Julian Beai
Each year approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized. Euthanizing is the act of putting a human being or animal to death humanely. Out of that 1.5 million, 670,000 are dogs 860,000 are cats. (ASPCA.org) House Bill 3-306 is a bill authored by Madison Cunningham that only allows for the euthanizing of ill animals. During the discussion of the bill which was struck down in a five-eight vote, a tax increase of two percent on pet owners entered the conversation because of the bill’s Appropriations Clause. The tax is needed to support the animals still in shelters, but the it was immediately shunned by the majority in the room. Trysten Jordan, a lobbyist for animal rights, and Madison Cunningham, the author, were unable to dispel this, even after including figures and numbers demonstrating that a two percent increase would have been pennies on the dollar. The bill was still struck down. No one was able to conclude exactly how much a two percent increase would be, (an example given by a representative of 2 percent of a 500-dollar kennel being 100 dollars) but even when facts are presented the bill was unable to escape the stigma imposed by a stereotype of greed. Greed, because once money is obtained it is rarely given up. Greed, which led to a bill about, brutally put, allowing a pardon from execution for animals so that they can be cared for to be struck down, greed has sunken its claws deep into the convictions of good. 3-306, needless to say, is a lesson in humanity. This lesson must be heeded by all, and it must be taken to heart. That lesson is that an opposition to this bill, regardless of a tax and regardless of money, is opposing life itself. These animals have no set time to live, they are not defended for or represented as a life. Humans tend to have this superiority complex, and this clouds judgement and leads to justification why animals shouldn’t be allowed time in a shelter. 3-306 is an animal activist light in the darkness, and if we cannot look at another animal and realize it’s worth or forget that animals are not completely different than us, then we have sanctioned a most inhumane way of death to be carried out on a creature whose crime was getting lost or wandering away. I cannot condone that, I do not agree with sanctioned murder of a defenseless animal no less. My lesson in humanity is to stand up for those, human or animal, who are weak or have no voice and to show strength and courage in place of those who cannot demonstrate. We are not judge, jury and executioner. We are human beings. Our actions will carry us high, and to treat all life with the respect it deserves will speak volumes to us as a people. Because despite a species difference, when we boil it down, caring for a life no matter how small is a noble deed. That is my lesson.
(Correction: The early version of this article had combined house bills 3-301 and 3-306, using the definitions located in HB 3-301 and the situation mentioned in the discussion of HB 3-306. I sincerely apologize for this mistake).