HB 1580 and 1581:
These two bills, both proposed by Democrat Mickey Dollens, concern the treatment of dogs. HB 1580 prevents unethical housing of animals, particularly banning the use of outdoor tethers for longer than 15 minutes. It also regulates the housing conditions of dogs, ensuring they are given adequate space and a suitable environment. The punishment for violation is just a fine, not a prison sentence. This bill would give a legal basis for intervening in the mistreatment of dogs. If someone saw such mistreatment occurring, they could stop the owner from continuing the abuse.
HB 1581 concerns the sale of dogs and cats. It would prevent pet stores from selling animals that didn’t come from shelters or qualified breeders. The bill is intended to prevent pet stores like Petland from selling dogs from puppy mills. According to the Humane Society, 99 percent of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. The cruel and unregulated practices of puppy mills must be fought against, and this bill is a great step to curb their presence in Oklahoma.
Both bills are excellent proposals to help ensure the ethical treatment of animals in the state and should absolutely be passed. Hopefully they are treated uncontroversially and experience bipartisan support.
On the other end of the animal treatment spectrum, we have Senate Concurrent Resolution five. This proposal would have the Oklahoma Legislature encourage incorporating “hunter education, with a dedicated section focused on firearm safety” into the curriculum of public middle or high schools. The proposal is just a recommendation, not an actual policy implementation, but it still indicates a lackluster understanding of what education for young people should be.
School curriculums ought to reflect the knowledge and skills a young adult should have to be a capable and well-informed person in society. Hunting is not essential to adult life. The ability to kill an animal is no more essential than any other leisure skill. Even if the hunting course was not required, students should be broadening their minds and perspectives, not being taught how to kill animals.
The mandatory and publicly-funded nature of school creates an immense responsibility to ensure that public education is worth the money of adults and the time of the children. Teaching children how to kill animals is a gross misuse of this money and time. Gun education does not enrich the minds of young people and tax money should not be used to fund it. No public school should allow a course on hunting.