Under the Animal Welfare Act, anyone who uses animals in any commercial endeavor must follow certain health and safety requirements to protect the welfare of the animals they use. For films, this includes paperwork requirements which document the way the animal is handled throughout the production to ensure that the animal is not mistreated.
The bill passed last Thursday was introduced by Louisiana Senator David Vitter, a Republican. What Vitter wants to do is to amend the Animal Welfare Act to eliminate the paperwork requirement for anyone who uses their own personal pets in a film rather than animals obtained from a commercial facility. The thinking behind this is that presumably, someone who owns a pet has an interest in maintaining the animal’s welfare for emotional reasons and therefore shouldn’t need to prove they are “providing a caring environment for the animal.”
Ok, first, this reasoning is nonsense. Every pet owner knows people who should never be allowed to own pets. We’ve all seen animals abused, beaten, starved and abandoned by their supposed caring owners, so this idea is crap. Moreover, how do you keep this exception from eating the law itself? What keeps a director from simply claiming the animals he’s using are his pets, and then abandoning them the moment the film is over?
... but that’s not the point.
The point is that this again highlights the problem with Republicans: they do the Democrats’ dirty work.
First, why are WE helping film companies? Yes, Vitter represents Louisiana and films are big business for them, but film companies are the enemy!! The Republicans need to stop doing things to help people who hate us. If film companies want something, let them get it from the Democrats... not us. Teach them that if they choose a side, then they cannot look to us for help or favors.
More importantly, however, consider “the optics” on this. When the Animal Welfare Act passed, I can guarantee you that the Democrats all patted themselves on the back and all their liberal followers felt quite morally superior knowing that they had legislated cruelty out of existence. Smug... smug... smug... smug... smug... smug...
Now ask yourself what happens when we introduce a bill like Vitter’s bill? Well, first, we help make laws like this more palatable because we fix the problems with them. Thus, we prevent a public backlash against Democratic overreach because we are alleviating the consequences of that overreach. Secondly, and this is the real kicker, we allow the Democrats to disingenuously smear us for attacking the thing they were trying to protect. In other words, since we are backtracking on their perfect bill, they can accuse us of “hating” animals or old people or whatever the bill was aimed at, even though they know they would have needed to backtrack if we hadn’t. This is so frustrating. It lets them remain smug because we are doing their dirty work!!!
Please Republicans, stop being patsies.
And this isn’t the first time, this is just one in a long line of examples where we let the Democrats pass some feel-smug bill and then we make ourselves the bad guys while simultaneously making their feel-smug bill more palatable.
Ask yourself this. How long do you think affirmative action would last if it applied to the NFL and other sports teams, to films, to television shows, to interest groups like the NAACP, to every business everywhere no matter how small? There would be a massive backlash and the whole thing would be crushed in a wave of public outrage. So why didn’t that happen? Because while the Democrats passed a broad bill which let them smugly claim they had ended discrimination.... the Republicans did the dirty work of carving out all the exceptions which kept the public from freaking out. We made their stupidity work. And in the process, they disingenuously smeared us for hating minorities as evidenced by the exceptions we created, without which the program would have imploded.
It’s the same with bill after bill. All their environmental laws, their anti-discrimination laws, their military/government contracting social engineering stuff, their workers’ rights laws, etc. .... all of it was unworkable and unpalatable to the public, until we came along and did their dirty work and made these things function. And in return, they always disingenuously smeared us for hating whatever it was they claimed they were trying to protect.
It’s time to stop enabling them.
It’s time to make sure that Democratic laws hit as many people as harshly as possible when they pass. No exceptions. No carve outs for sanity or to save the economy.
And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying do nothing. What I’m saying is that if something is the right thing to do, then we do it our way and we claim credit for it. But if it’s one of their lunatic bills, then you stop making those bills work, stop saving the public from the consequences, stop saving the Democrats from the backlash. Let those bills apply far and wide and attack the Democrats all along the way. Attack them for the harm they’ve done to real people. Attack them for NOT exempting people. Attack them FOR exempting people. Attack them every single time they amend the bill to fix a problem they create. Wipe the smug off their faces.
There is an old gypsy curse: “May you get everything you wish for.” It’s time the Republicans learned the meaning of this and taught it to the Democrats and their followers.