A few weeks ago on a Sunday, after church, I was called on an emergency to assist a sow (mother pig) having difficulty delivering her babies. After assessing the situation, the owner and I decided that a caesarean surgery was in order. This sow and the one next to her were in farrowing crates.
As I waited for the anesthetic to take effect, I observed the adjacent sow, which had already delivered her pigs. She was lying down, letting her pigs nurse, and occasionally she would get up to drink or eat, then lie back down and go back to sleep and continue to nurse her pigs. I thought this was a sow at complete comfort, and because the sow was crated, the pigs were saved from being accidently smothered by their mother.
I wondered: Why would anyone be opposed to farrowing crates? Yet animal rights groups are trying to ban such crates. These groups are funding their political agendas on state and national media by showing heart-wrenching pictures of starving and neglected dogs and cats, using money received from an unsuspecting public on many things besides the care of abused animals.
This type of public appeal by such groups has spurred me to initiate a bill I will file in the upcoming legislative session to remedy this problem in Oklahoma. Rep. John Enns, R-Waukomis, a wheat farmer and rancher, will co-author this legislation. Our bill will require any animal rights group that raises money from Oklahomans to spend that money in Oklahoma on animals as advertised. These groups would not be allowed to use that money for political purposes.
Oklahomans will see this very event occurring in 2016 as we vote on State Question 777, also called “right to farm." Animal rights groups will spend large amounts of money next year trying to defeat this measure. As a veterinarian, I support this bill because I don't want some out-of-state group telling me how to practice veterinary medicine when it comes to farm animals.
I have complete confidence in supporting SQ 777 because it has a clause “prohibiting the Legislature from passing laws that would take away the right to employ agriculture technology and livestock production without a compelling state interest.” “Without a compelling state interest" is like an insurance clause, making me totally supportive of the measure and its consequences.
If you will remember, a few years ago we also passed a "right to hunt and fish" bill. This was done for the very same reason we have SQ 777 on next year's ballot. There were no "woollyboogers" in the "right to hunt and fish" bill; there are none in 777, either.
Renegar (D-McAlester) is a graduate of the Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He has been a veterinarian for 40 years.