Beebe: Optimistic on animal cruelty law UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Beebe: Optimistic on animal cruelty law UPDATE

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Gov. Beebe said in a radio interview yesterday that he thinks public pressure is growing sufficiently to produce a meaningful felony animal cruelty law. (Morril say it was OK this time?)

The linked article mentions the state Game and Fish shale lease, but not the growing legal controversy over the notion that any gas bonanza on its lands may be used only by the agency for wildlife purposes. Carried to the logical extreme, Game and Fish could share money for environmental expenses only to cure depredation to its own land. Nothing else in the state could or would benefit.

If that's so, it's time to change the Constitution, period. Or get ready for an agency that not only has a car for every employee, but a Land Rover for every employee, if the gas bonanza is of the size that Chesapeake seems to expect with its $30 million front money payment. Some time in the 22nd or 23rd century the agency might even begin actively serving wildlife lovers who find different ways to enjoy them beyond shooting them or impaling them with hooks.

UPDATE: I exaggerate a bit about Game and Fish by way of making my point about their wildlife myopia. But, in fairness, the environmental groups should not be claiming they were blind-sided by gas exploration on wildlife refuges. Back in 2006, the agency filed its budget request for consideration in the 2007 legislature. The document contains a discussion, beginning on page 4, about the agency's hope to reap a windfall from gas leasing. They are actually behind schedule. They had hoped for $15 million in the first year of the two-year budget cycle, which ended June 30. But they have more than caught up to the $20 million they hoped to earn.

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