Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why Still Pay Attention To Politics

It came to the attention of the Lady of the House yesterday via a community she is part of online that the Department of Natural Resources in Michigan is implementing an order that could lead to small scale farmers being declared felons. The law itself isn't specifically targeting these farmers according to the MDNR, it is targeting feral pigs. However it is defining feral pigs by their physical characteristics, not by whether or not they are loose. If you look up this order from any sort of major news source it is reported as a positive thing, backed by environmentalists and pig farmers both, but a little more research is always a good thing.

I figure I will let everyone go ahead and read the articles themselves about this particular situation before I continue to discuss it.

This article describes some of the issues with the law, and concerns by the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, mostly focused on the law itself and the suit by Air Force Veteran Mark Baker.

An article focused on the layman rather than using legal focus about the same side of the issue, again focusing on Mark Baker and his heritage breed pigs.

In this link State Senator Darwin Booher speaks to the state senate. I haven't been able to watch the video, but apparently the MDNR doesn't even give the state legislature clear answers about what is going on.

A local article attempting a balanced view point on the situation.

A local article positively inclined towards the bill.

The Concerns About The Action
If one can define by physical traits whether an animal is prohibited to own and breed for food, then large agricultural concerns can lobby to have heritage breeds eliminated. This would mean that local growers and homesteaders can't grow animals for the most part. For rabbits as an example, one could simply define that rabbits that weren't all, or mostly white were feral and must be destroyed. That would right off the bat eliminate most of the heritage breeds.

This is something I'm going to be keeping an eye on, apparently similar bills have been passed before, including one in PA. It illustrates that bills and departmental orders can have a lot of effects even if they are aimed at something that everyone agrees is a problem. Honestly before we were alerted to this I wouldn't have had any concern about a feral rabbit extermination order. Now I will be reading it carefully and checking in with the department issuing it.

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