Community Editorial: Animal Rights ‘Knuckleheads’

County Animal Shelter
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During a recent discussion of a proposed vicious dog ordinance at a meeting of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Shawn Nelson made reference to the “average knucklehead walking down the street.”

Knucklehead is a term coined in the ’30s meaning people of limited intelligence who prefer using their knuckles or fists to using their heads.

It’s interesting to know what politicians actually think of the people they are supposed to represent.

They expect their constituents to respect them, but shouldn’t we expect the same from them?

Why does the Orange County Board of Supervisors have such contempt for animals and the people who care about them?

Mathew Scully who served as special assistant to President George W. Bus,h once stated, “You are no more likely to find reflections or exposes concerning cruelty in The Nation or The New Republic than in any journal of the Right” and “It is assumed that animal protection causes are a project of the Left, and that the proper conservative position is to stand warily and firmly against them.”

One has only to see evidence of this assumption by visiting our 73-year old county animal shelter and the decaying physical condition and inadequate facilities for which the supervisors are responsible.

So who do the Orange County Board of Supervisors respect? Their lobbyists? Like Wal Mart, the world’s second-largest public corporation, who is registered to lobby in Orange County? Whom do our local politicians really heed?

When I discovered last year California state Senator Mimi Walters was planning to run for 5th District Orange County Supervisor when she termed out, I phoned for a meeting at her Irvine office.

Ms. Walter’s voting preference first came to my attention when in 2008 she voted against protection of the gray whales. I was astonished, knowing the economy of Dana Point, her district at the time, depended a great deal on their annual Festival of the Whales and whale watching.

Joining me at the meeting were several other animal advocates, essentially representing 4,000 voters. During the meeting, her staffers were very cordial. We were told this had never been done before.

We were anxious to enlighten Ms. Walters with the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness. Certainly this educational and historical acknowledgment on animal consciousness by much respected Stephen Hawking would make a difference, we thought.

We also methodically went over the then current legislation. Of course understandably, the director could make no promises other than informing Ms. Walters of the information we provided that day and would continue to provide to her office in the future. Since that time we have continued to send correspondence to her Irvine office requesting her to support specific bills.

Fast forward to today. In spite of all our efforts, Ms. Walters has continued to vote anti-animal. And when the opportunity arose this last year to help “protect our coast and oceans,” she abstained when a “yes” vote was needed. But the proverbial “slap in the face” came when she voted against declaring October of each year as Shelter Pet Awareness month.

Each year between 700,000 and 800,000 animals are taken in by California’s public and private shelters, and up to now, less than half of these animals are adopted into new homes. The Legislature was seeking a way to promote shelter adoptions by raising public awareness. It had no fiscal effect, yet Ms. Walters voted no. The political action committee which monitors voting on bills affecting animals and their environment has given Walters an F for her overall voting record for 2013.

Ms. Walters has dropped her candidacy for Orange County Board of Supervisor 5th District. Oh my god, she is now running for a congressional seat.

I personally consider issues which affect children and animals important, primarily because they are at our mercy and their welfare depends on us. I surely would not vote for Ms. Walters and cast a suspicious eye on the politicians who have endorsed her.

And guess what — the list of endorsers includes two Orange County Supervisors, Shawn Nelson and Pat Bates.

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