Tuesday, March 22

STARVING A CATTLE HERD IN FLORIDA RESULTS IN 120 FELONY COUNTS OF ANIMAL CRUELTY

Lest you think the entire justice system in the state of Florida has gone completely mad in the wake of the latest Terri Schindler-Schiavo court ruling, let me reassure you that there is an unwavering concern for life in the land of sun, sand, and fun; and swift, exacting justice is dispensed if you knowingly engage in the starvation of a sentient life form -- of a cow, that is.

Rancher Michael Lee Swails of Immokalee, Florida, was jailed this very month, held on $100,000 bail, and charged with 120 felony counts of animal cruelty, each charge of which, if he is convicted, carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, for allegedly starving a herd of cattle.

Imagine this: "Swails, 47, is accused of letting his cattle starve in a pasture that was devoid of forage."

It is shocking, I agree. But is it right to be selectively shocked ... you know, relatively speaking?

Bizarre, is it not, that if Michael Lee Swails were married to a cognitively-disabled woman, he could prevail in getting the courts of Florida to starve and dehydrate her until she was dead, and this cattleman would not suffer any legal consequences whatsoever.

I wonder if his legal defense will be that the cattle didn't want to live anymore in that desolate field in the stifling heat and humidty of Florida. Preposterous defense? Heh, it works without a hitch if you do the same thing to a human being, so maybe he ought to retain George Felos and the ACLU and collaborate in paving new ground in bovine law.