Roy Exum: Oh No! Am I A Terrorist?


The | Roy Exum | April 15, 2013

Roy Exum, award-winning columnist

Roy Exum, award-winning columnist

Tennessee’s dreaded “AgGag” bill, which make those who covertly film or expose acts of animal abuse into criminals, was delayed in the Tennessee Legislature last week but if proponents have their way, a vote on House Bill 1191 will be taken tomorrow in Nashville. The bill, widely criticized by animal rights activists but causing the sickening “Big Lick” segment of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry to urge for its approval, would charge any whistle-blowers with a state misdemeanor if they don’t turn over all evidence to police authorities within 24 to 48 hours.

The very fact the Shelbyville-centered “performance horse” crowd supports the bill is enough to give millions of horsemen around the world the cold shivers but now comes the notion the bill is in blatant discord with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Rep. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) will try to block the bill in House Committee and said, “This is the first time I have ever seen a bill requiring media to report what they see to police.”

Obviously, Rep Lundberg has smelled the very conspicuous rat. Often it takes longer than 48 hours to build a case. And in Shelbyville, where there have been hundreds of violations of the federal Horse Protection Act at the National Celebration in recent years, law enforcement is so cozy (and dependent) on the Big Lick you’d think the two were country cousins. It’s a fact — there has not been one local arrest in over 40 years of widespread horse abuse in Bedford County.

Deloris Grisham (R-Somerville) has sponsored the AgGag bill in the state Senate but Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) knows the bill is a sham. “Obviously this is a Catch-22 bill,” he said last week after getting Grisham to postpone the bill until tomorrow. Further, Norris has indicated he has no choice but to oppose the bill.

Senator Grisham is fooling no one when she piously cries, “This is not an anti-whistle blower bill … we’re just saying, whistle blower, blow your whistle. Take what you have to law enforcement so the abuse will stop.”

Oh, please, Deloris! Like your fellow sponsor, Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden), you viciously and publicly call those who filmed the award-winning tape of Jackie McConnell sadistically torturing horses as “vigilantes” while some whacko private-interest group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, calls the same people “terrorists.” Believe it or not —  the ALEC wants those who decry animal abuse to be included in some type of a “terrorist registry.” Deloris, please give them my name because horse lovers are well aware what Tennessee has allowed the real criminals to do to Tennessee Walkers. Why do you want to be the “Big Lick” poster girl?


AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Marcia

    Have to wonder when people are going to stop watching reality TV and Survivor and pay attention to what is happneing in this country. In many ways we’re where we are now because we were asleep at the switch for too long. The rich have gotten richer, the poor poorer, the middle class is sliding downhill, reproductive “rights” are being challenged, and what is happening to the animals is beyond terrible. Now these ag-gag laws attack more basic freedoms and will lock animals into abuse and neglect without their suffering being exposed and thus without the ability of the law to help them and punish their tormentors.

    April 15, 2013
  • Margaret

    I think TN has an animal abuse problem that is deeply imbedded in the folks from one generation to the next. It isn’t just these AG-GAG folks. What’s his name that ran down the two Pryor Mustangs on July 24 in 2011. And then he tried to leave the scene only his truck died.

    That Jackie McConnell video was awful. I think we saw more of it at the Horse Conference in Las Vegas. What part of screwing 12 lb weights on a horses hoof sounds appropriate to you? We’re talking all four feet with no breaks. These horses lie down to take the weight off their poor feet. At which point they are beaten til they stand up.

    I guess I’m a terrorist too cause I feel these actions are abusive and totally unnecessary.

    So let’s just be clear about this. The TWH got kicked out of National events because of this abuse. They’ve had 40 some years to police themselves and they can’t or won’t. I think Congress needs to pass some kind if law forbidding the Big Lick period. Asides from it being totally fake it’s the ugliest stride I’ve ever seen.

    April 15, 2013
    • Carla Crane

      I completely agree with you Margaret! It is ugly, unnatural, hideous and sickening to watch! That is NOT how the TWH was meant to be treated or shown. EVER. That whole “Big Lick” mess needs to be permanantly banned, and this crap ended. Blows my mind that they call their big finale show the “Celebration”… What are they celebrating, the abuse of these poor horses? SICK people!

      April 15, 2013
  • Judy Wendt

    Ever notice how those who decry following the constitution pick and choose what parts of the constitution they decide to honor – and what parts they want to disregard? AgGags are definitely a violation of our right to know what is in our food, plus the 1st Amendment’s freedom of the press – including your freedom to report Jerry.

    ALEC (a major lobby that “buys” political influence at the state level) backs corporations over people’s constitutional rights, and apparently, animals, too. The ALEC sponsored legislator in my state is pro-slaughter of horses. He tries to sell it by saying slaughter provides jobs. NOT legal ones, of course, unless you recruit butchers like Tim Sappington! They call this type of legislation “Right to Farm.” Don’t be fooled.

    So, if going onto factory farms and slaughterhouses to video tape abuse is invading private property who owns the air space over the facilities? Drones can fly over my house and spy on me, so will they be able to fly over these houses of horror and report?

    April 15, 2013
    • Marcia

      Judy, good point. People pick and choose what parts of the Bible are convenient also, especially that part about human beings having “dominion” over creation in order to justify every kind of exploitation and abuse of animals.

      April 15, 2013
  • Linda Jackson

    I have sent those posts describing the 50,000 mustangs and burros in holding for slaughter to the National Public Radio (NPR), a local investigative reporter (Independent News Weekly), The Pensacola News Journal, and others who have given no coverage to this American disgrace. The 50K tons of beef (tainted with Bute/horsemeat) recalled from the Netherlands was given scanty press; only because of public health risk. Is anyone else concerned that horses are sprayed with fertility control drugs: SpayVac, GonaCon, ZonaStat-H?

    The only thing that has saved those already in holding was the sequester; no funds for USDA inspections. Will this prevent those BLM from shipping them to Mexico & Canada for slaughter as meat? You may consider this a whistle being blown Ms. Grisham. Or, will you wait until human birth defects bring you to tears?

    April 15, 2013
  • Jade

    It seems the time draws near for us to take back our country – starting with our government and working our way up!

    April 15, 2013
  • Nancy B

    I couldn’t agree more with the excellent points made by Marcia, Margaret and Judy! The sadistic abuse of TWHs, as well as the routine abuse of factory farmed animals, is horrendous! It will never cease if it isn’t known. Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is power. We The People have a right to know, and the animals have the right to be protected.

    April 15, 2013
  • Lorrie

    I guess I am a photo terrorist since I always have a camera in my car, copy of CA animal cruelty laws and do take pictures from PUBLIC land of any animals in distress of any kind. I’d love for anyone to arrest me; Grandma goes to jail for taking pictures of animals being abused! And I do have contacts in the local media that would love my story of being arrested!

    April 15, 2013
  • BlessUsAll

    Nancy B., you took every word right out of my mouth (and I’ll add Jade to the list). 🙂

    Bless courageous “terrorist”-columnist Roy Exum for defending those dear horses and calling out Tennessee’s callous State Sen. Deloris Grisham!

    (Margaret, please don’t describe any more of the torture the “Big Lick” horses are forced to endure. I’ve purposely refrained from watching the videos so I won’t have eternal nightmares. Thanks, my kind friend.)

    April 15, 2013