OKLAHOMA CITY, OK –
Nov 16, 2018
The House of Representatives begins their day with roll call and then dives right into the first bill to be heard, OU 510 by Gourley. The bill titled, the “Animal Welfare Reform” act of 2018 deals with how breeders of animals will be treated in the state of Oklahoma. This bill amends legislation already passed by the Oklahoma House of Representatives, O.S. 4-30 by removing all mentions of “commercial pet breeders” and reforming the bill where a breeder is restricted in their use of animals for the purpose of breeding.
This proposed piece of legislation would penalize those in Oklahoma who rely on rearing animals for their livelihood. It assumes that every breeder is inherently evil and that they are only using the animals for money and not for other things as well as happiness and entertainment. As the author of this bill seems to assume, not every pet breeder is putting quantity over quality with how many animals they breed as well as with how they bring up their animals. Part of the solution is to allow for more beneficial animal breeders, not to ostracize them in Oklahoma. By putting the animal breeders out of business that are bringing up the animals in a positive way it is forcing people who are looking to buy animals as pets, or for a similar matter, to go to other breeders outside of the state that may not be as good to the animals as those in Oklahoma that would be hurt by this bill.
The representatives in the House were able to give many ideas for amendments on the bill. Representative Tindle (OSU) submitted a hostile amendment to change the wording in the bill on page 8 section 30.13 subsection D to clarify that the breeding and subsequent sale of animals is the actions that are being banned in this bill. Another hostile amendment brought up was to add on page 3 section 30.3 subsection 2 at line 12 to add farm species are any species of animal kept for agricultural purposes. Both of these amendments were adopted by the House and therefore strengthened the bill by clarifying the wording.
This bill does have a good intent to help with the overflow of shelter animals, however through the wording of the bill it seems to do more harm than good to the people of Oklahoma. Overall, this bill has good intent, and through the amendments brought up by the body, it seems like it could have a chance to pass in the House.
However after final reading and voting on the bill on a vote 18 to 21, OU 510 by Gourley did not pass through the House. Most likely this is due to the fact that many people around the state rely on rearing animals for their livelihood. Overall, this bill, through amendments, became stronger and representatives worked diligently to improve the bill and try to pass it through the House.