4 weeks ago

Animal welfare and economics

Dog owners in Canberra, Australia, must now walk their companions daily or face a $2,700 fine, due to a 2019 animal welfare law recognizing dogs as sentient beings. Does requiring the humane treatment of animals restrict the property rights of humans and the functioning of economies?

I will not let rain, sleet, snow or dark of night deter me from walking my dogs. Dogs’ unbridled enthusiasm for a walk is so marvelous that I never want to let them down. I will confess, though, that I’ve violated Canberra’s new law.

Political philosophers’ theories of rights describe how humans should treat each other. Humans have the capacity for rational, deliberative action. Furthermore, political rights establish the conditions for the exercise of our rational capacities. Although beyond my professional expertise, based on my understanding, I would be reluctant to say that animals have rights.

Nonetheless, I think animals should be treated humanely and ethically, even though people disagree about what exactly constitutes humane treatment. And standards for humane treatment have changed over time. In the 1800s, owners could beat horses or mules for failing to do work.

Some critics dismiss animal rights when proponents do not extend rights to insects. An advocate willing to swat mosquitos rejects what critics see as the logical extension of animal rights. I think humans can hold ourselves to whatever standards of treatment we want. We can have inconsistent standards across species and decide to treat cute animals better. And we need not compromise our health and safety; we can, for instance, spray mosquitos.

The most relevant animal treatment issues today involve hunting and eating meat. My personal opinion here is irrelevant. But standards of care for animals have increased over time, so I can imagine hunting and eating meat being banned someday.

Do requirements for humane treatment compromise the property rights that provide the basis for our economy? As a free-market economist, I normally defend peoples’ economic freedom to use their property as they wish. Shouldn’t economic freedom include the freedom to organize dog fights?

Perhaps I am rationalizing, but I do not believe so. Property rights are ultimately rights to use things we own in certain ways. Ownership of animals may entail fewer rights than ownership of, say, furniture. Parents have more limited decision rights for their children than for themselves and can lose parental rights for abuse or neglect. Since standards of humane treatment can be inconsistent, we may decide that killing pigs or cattle but not dogs or horses for food is OK.

Would the banning of meat decimate agriculture? The impacts would be significant; the U.S. has over 90 million cattle, 70 million hogs and 230,000 poultry farms. The 2.3 million Americans working in agriculture will likely continue to do so, probably growing crops instead of raising animals. We have already seen a more radical transformation, however, as 80% of Americans worked in agriculture in 1800.

Banning meat would cause ranchers losses on the poultry and livestock they owned. However, meat is unlikely to be banned until many more Americans first become vegetarians. Fewer meat-eaters would reduce livestock populations and prices, reducing the losses from an eventual ban.

Animals, though, may not benefit from vegetarianism. The vast majority of America’s 70 million hogs are alive today because they are being raised for market. Most farm animals would not exist if we did not eat meat.

Is it better for an animal never to be born than born and raised to be eaten? Population ethics wrestles with a version of this question. China’s one child policy controlled population growth, but millions of children were never born. Does a higher quality of life for those lucky enough to be born offset the lives that never were?

Humanity is arguably making moral progress: slavery has been abolished, war is becoming rarer and we insist on humane treatment of animals. Ownership, limited by norms of humane treatment, leads humans to care for animals. Evolving standards of humane treatment need never cause economic calamity.

Daniel Sutter is the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University and host of Econversations on TrojanVision. The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Troy University.

3 mins ago

Matt Fridy releases ad showcasing citizen testimonials – ‘On Tuesday I’m voting Fridy”

State Representative Matt Fridy’s (R-Montevallo) campaign for the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released an ad Monday that shows Alabama citizens vouching for the candidates’ character and legal abilities.

In the closing moments, the ad also features a clever turn of phrase, “Vote Fridy on Tuesday,” that the campaign hopes will stick with viewers.

The 30-second spot will begin airing on radio and cable this week.

104

The individuals featured in the ad, who go unidentified, vouch for Fridy’s “brilliant legal mind” and his “integrity.”

Additionally, one man in the ad lauds Fridy as a “staunch conservative.”

The new piece is more conventional than the campaign’s first advertisement, which went for a humorous tone.

Fridy is widely considered the favorite to win the Civil Appeals Court race. His only opponent in the primary, Phillip Bahakel, has not been able to accrue much money for his campaign and has not released a television ad.

Watch:

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.

28 mins ago

Ainsworth to unveil legislation shortening appeals process for capital murder death row inmates

Alabama Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth on Tuesday will unveil legislation that will reportedly shorten the appeals process and expedite the death penalty for individuals convicted of capital murder and sentenced to be executed in the state.

Originally inspired by the record number of Yellowhammer State law enforcement officers across the state who have been killed in the line of duty over the past 13 months, the legislation will actually apply to all capital murder convictions resulting in the death penalty that occur in Alabama.

159

RELATED: State Rep. John Rogers calls for automatic death penalty with no appeals for convicted cop killers

Ainsworth will be joined by bill sponsors at an 11:00 a.m. press conference in the State House to make the announcement. The Republican lieutenant governor announced two months ago that he was working on this legislation.

“‘Back the Blue’ must be more than just a slogan. Actions must follow words,” Ainsworth has said in a tweet. “Murdering an officer who maintains law and order should quickly cost your own life.”

Last year, the Alabama legislature passed a bill by State Rep. Chris Sells (R-Greenville) making it a capital offense to kill any on-duty first responder, not just policemen and corrections officers.

Killing an on-duty police officer has long been a capital offense in Alabama.

In Alabama, capital murder convictions result in either life imprisonment without parole or the death penalty.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

7 Things: Byrne throwing haymakers in Senate race, Tuberville says he isn’t for amnesty but there is a tape, Trump plays the race card and more …

7. Bloomberg reportedly has made inappropriate comments towards female employees

  • A report from the Washington Post has shown detailed accounts of inappropriate comments former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made towards women and ways that he’s discriminated against women.
  • One of the accounts in the report was of a female employee who announced that she was pregnant, and Bloomberg responded, “Kill it!” President Donald Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said that the way Bloomberg has treated his female employees creates an “unsafe workplace.” She added, “[T]o feel that you’re being harassed because of your gender, that is problematic.”

6. UAB one of the best hospitals

606

  • UAB Hospital has made the cut for one of America’s Best Hospitals based on overall clinical excellence. Only the top 5% of hospitals in the country qualify.
  • There’s a total of 32 conditions and procedures that hospitals are evaluated on to be determined one of the best, including stroke, heart failure and heart attack. If treated at a hospital ranked as one of America’s best, there’s a 26.6% higher survival rate.

5. Every Trump appointee just needs to resign or be investigated?

  • Amid the drama of the Department of Justice getting involved in the case of Roger Stone, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is calling for U.S. Attorney General William Barr to testify before the Senate while others are calling for resignation or impeachment (which will never happen).
  • Klobuchar wants to ensure that the decision of the Justice Department wasn’t influenced by President Donald Trump with him “constantly tweeting out different requests of the Justice Department.” Barr has already agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

4. Medical marijuana vote expected this week

  • On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a public hearing where the medical marijuana bill will likely be discussed, and a vote on the bill could happen on the same day.
  • State Senator Tim Melson’s (R-Florence) would require that people first get a prescription for medical marijuana from a state-approved doctor before going to a dispensary to purchase their products. Only those with specific conditions would be approved for a medical marijuana card.

3. Trump takes “The Beast” for a spin at Daytona

  • President Donald Trump visited the Daytona 500 on Sunday where he acted as the Grand Marshall for the race and took the presidential limo on a lap around the track while chants of “four more years” and “USA!” filled the track.
  • Obviously, the media and their Democrats were not happy with this and complained that the limo was a government resource being used for campaign purposes, which is the same complaint they make about Air Force One. Even though both parties have complained about this practice in the past, it is clearly permissible.

2. Tuberville isn’t for amnesty

  • In the 2020 U.S. Senate race in Alabama, U.S. Representative Bradly Byrne (R-Fairhope) has released an ad that takes aim at former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville, replaying audio from a Shoals Republican Club meeting where Tuberville talks about illegal immigration, saying, “Put the wall up – then let them come in and become citizens like we all became citizens.”
  • The narrator in the ad responds with “Hey, Tommy, that’s amnesty,” but at a campaign stop in Hartselle, Tuberville said that when it comes to amnesty for illegal immigrants, “You have to go and start back the right way.” He added that people saying he’s for amnesty are part of “the swamp. … They can’t run on anything, they don’t do anything. They’ve never done anything.”

1. Byrne throwing punches shows the state of the race

  • Whether he is in second or third is up for debate, but U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Fairhope) is the first candidate to go on the attack in his own name in the 2020 U.S. Senate race, putting out a television ad saying that both former Auburn Football coach Tommy Tuberville and former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should’ve stayed fired.”
  • The ad compares Byrne to Tuberville and Sessions, saying that “Bradley is the proven fighter with a track record of defending President Trump and our values.” The Sessions campaign has responded to the ad saying that candidates attack when they’re “desperate and afraid.”

5 hours ago

Montgomery launches ‘Feed the Meter for the Homeless’ project

Under the leadership of Mayor Steven L. Reed, new specialized parking meters were installed last week in downtown Montgomery to provide a quick, convenient way to support locals affected by homelessness.

Reed announced the meters were on the way during a recent city council meeting. Called the “Feed the Meter for the Homeless” project, the City’s new initiative is made possible through a partnership with the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless (MACH).

The special parking meters are green and offer residents a way to donate directly to support MACH and central Alabama agencies working with those experiencing homelessness in Alabama’s capital city. Donations will be accepted in the forms of coins or cash at each specialized meter and by card through the ParkMobile app (zone 36999) or online payment.

87

“The Feed the Meter for the Homeless initiative connects compassion with convenience by allowing Montgomery residents and visitors to support our neighbors affected by homelessness and its devastating ramifications,” Reed said in a statement. “Each donation is a hand-up to help those in need and an investment in building a better future for Montgomery and the River Region.”

For more information on Feed the Meter for the Homeless MGM, please click here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

6 hours ago

Cathy Randall now serving on board of The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham

Dr. Cathy J. Randall, chairman of the board of Pettus Randall Holdings, LLC, is now serving as a board member for The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham.

The Women’s Fund made the announcement in a recent release, detailing that Randall term’s officially began on January 1. A Birmingham native and Tuscaloosa resident, she is a longtime, prominent civic and corporate leader, as well as the legendary former director of the University Honors Programs at the University of Alabama.

Tracey Morant Adams, board chair for The Women’s Fund, said in a statement, “The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham strives to elevate and amplify women’s voices, and we are incredibly fortunate to welcome Dr. Randall to our board as she is a well-established voice in the state.”

133

“Cathy’s passion for community service and her experience in building a better Alabama will be a tremendous asset for the organization,” Adams added.

Randall’s service to the state includes being immediate past chairman of the Alabama Academy of Honor and former president of the boards of directors of the American Village, the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame and the David Mathews Center of Civic Life, as well as former director of Alabama Girls State.

Additionally, she currently serves on the board of Alabama Power Company and is a former board member of Mercedes Benz USI. Randall was the co-chair of Governor Kay Ivey’s inaugural committee and was named as a Woman of Impact by Yellowhammer Multimedia in 2018.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn