So much for gridlock. On September 12, the US House of Representatives proved that its members can in fact reach across the aisle to find common ground. On taxes? Spending? Foreign policy? Well, no. They agreed, on a voice vote, that they should get to decide what you can or cannot have for lunch.
“The Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2018” is exactly what it sounds like: A bill “to prohibit the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.”
What’s up? Is there some pressing public health concern at stake? Is America in the throes of an epidemic of stolen pets ending up in stew pots?
Well, no. According to the bill’s sponsor, US Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL), it’s all about “how beloved these animals are for most Americans.” They “provide love and companionship to millions of people.”
In other words, it’s all about making Buchanan, the bill’s co-sponsor, Alcee Hastings (D-FL), and a bunch of other politicians look warm, fuzzy, and caring to the vast majority of Americans whose dinner plans don’t include Manx Cordon Bleu and pulled Shih Tzu sandwiches.
I’m one of those people. I like dogs (I have two) and tolerate cats (my wife and kids have four). That makes it pretty simple for me. I don’t want to eat dog or cat … so I don’t.
As for those who DO want to eat cat and dog, well, in what universe is that any of my business — or, more to the point, the US House of Representatives’?
There are countries on Earth where the slaughter and consumption of certain animals is officially discouraged or even illegal. Two that come to mind are beef (India) and pork (Muslim countries and Israel). My guess is that most Americans think that’s pretty crazy. And yet we have a house of Congress trying to make America like that.
Under House rules, any member can force a counted vote, and one-fifth of the members can compel a recorded vote. That this bill passed on a voice vote means that not one, let alone 87, out of 435 US Representatives objected to passing the equivalent of Sharia or Kosher law right here in America. And it wasn’t even based on any kind of coherent religious/philosophical argument, just “oooh … they’re so cuuuuuuuute.”
And that’s it for this installment of “why we’re better off when Congress doesn’t get anything done than when it does.”
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.