by Pettus Read
Does anyone know where I can find a good lawyer for a chicken? I don't mean some "dumb cluck" who would avoid doing his lawyerly job of representing the rights of chickens in a court of law, but one who would truthfully look out for the welfare of his foul client before a foxy attorney working for the Colonel, the MacNugget clown, Old MacDonald or even those cows who push chicken-eating out on the billboards of our interstates. I need one who will put the lowly chicken on a pedestal rather than a platter and won't run around with his head cut-off, as has been the rule in the past.
We need someone who will handle their suits before a judge serving on today's roosts, I mean benches, who may side with the nugget crowd putting the poor chicken in the county coop.
If you think I need to be visited by the fellows who put those white coats on people that lace up in the back, you may want to wait just a little bit until you read my reasoning for writing the previous paragraph. Not that you have not wondered about me before, and I'm sure you have had good reason for questioning my sanity, but the beginning paragraph makes good sense if you have been keeping up with recent appointments up in our nation's capital. It seems one appointee, suggested by our president, thinks animals should be allowed to bring suit to protect their rights and if he gets the job as head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, chicken law may become a possible career for new law students.
Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein has been picked by President Obama as a candidate to head up the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The one in charge of this important position has the power to review and assess all draft regulations proposed by the administration and Professor Sunstein has made some statements in public and print that has the agricultural and hunting communities concerned.
In a recent news report it stated that in a speech at Harvard in 2007, he called for the banning of hunting in the United States. We all remember the uproar in England when the ban on fox hunting occurred a few years back and if you think that was something to see back then, it will be a small gathering compared to what would happen in this country if you tried to stop hunting in the U.S. based on the welfare of animals.
It is reported in his book "Animal Rights: A Very Short Primer," he wrote, "There should be extensive regulation of the use of animals in entertainment, in scientific experiments, and in agriculture." He has also suggested in some of his writings that animals should be permitted to sue humans and that is where my first paragraph idea grew from. All of his suggestions are troubling to me as an agriculturalist, and giving an individual the authority Sunstein would have in regulatory affairs in this position would only worsen agriculture's situation in today's off-the-wall regulation laden government system. This is one appointment that needs to be checked out. Those in animal agriculture, sports hunting and any animal related industry could be directly affected as new regulations come down from the administration and interpretations are made of new laws by this high office.
It is my opinion that I don't think his beliefs have changed from the time he suggested extensive regulations be implemented on animals in agriculture, to his current hearings for this appointment. The humane treatment of animals is important and agriculture has stressed that many times, but common sense is also vital in the regulation of our food industry. I support humane care of all our animals but I can not accept animals and humans as equals.
It is time for Washington to take a closer look at all those who get the nod for appointments. If not, the chicken lawyers will soon take over.