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The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition

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VOL. 37 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 19, 2013

TV ads urge governor veto animal abuse bill

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NASHVILLE (AP) - The Humane Society of the United States is airing television commercials that urge Gov. Bill Haslam to veto an animal abuse bill.

Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle called the legislative bill an attempt to prevent animal welfare groups and the media from exposing illegal cruelty against animals.

The measure would require anyone recording or taking photos of livestock abuse to turn images over to law enforcement within 48 hours.

The City Paper in Nashville (http://bit.ly/YK8use) reported Pacelle said collecting undercover video images at the Collierville stable of horse trainer Jackie McConnell was key in building evidence used by federal authorities against McConnell. Some of that video is included in the TV commercial.

"This was a model case in terms of exposing an abuse and bringing something to light that would have never come out into the public sphere," Pacelle said Monday at a news conference in Legislative Plaza.

Charges under the Horse Protection Act brought McConnell a three-year probationary sentence and a $75,000 fine last year.

"This (bill) is a pre-emptive strike against animal welfare groups and against the press to uncover and expose illegal animal cruelty," Pacelle said.

Haslam said last week he would look into the details of the bill. He did not say he would veto it.

Democratic leaders told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday that they also would like to see the bill vetoed.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner of Nashville said he believes the measure would inadvertently hurt farmers.

"Farming is very important to this state," he said. "And we gotta make sure that people don't infringe upon farmers' rights to earn a living."