There have been some truly egregious political fuck-ups in the past, and while Tennessee Republican State Rep. Andy Holt’s email exchange with the Humane Society’s public policy coordinator in which he compares the Humane Society investigations to the human trafficking of 17-year-old women and makes use of the phrase “tape and rape” is fairly low-profile, it’s also extremely nauseating. It also proves that the learning curve on not comparing things that aren’t at all like rape to rape is way steeper than anyone could have guessed.
Kayci McLeod, the public policy coordinator for the Humane Society of the United States, got into a brief but oddly vitriolic email exchange with Rep. Andy Holt, a hog farmer and sponsor of a bill that would, according to The Tennessean, “ban long-term investigations of animal cruelty by requiring investigators to turn videos over to police within days.” Holt has argued that the bill would actually end animal abuse quicker, and that, anyway, extensive undercover investigations often can’t differentiate between animal cruelty and totally “legitimate, legal farming techniques.”
The HSUS begs to differ, arguing that the real reason people like Holt want this new bill (which now requires only Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature), is because it helps scupper investigations before they accumulate enough evidence to effectively prosecute animal abusers, a case-building process that can take weeks or months.
In its effort to raise awareness about the bill, the HSUS has funded a statewide campaign to let Tennesseans know that they should be fairly concerned about how the bill might make it harder to punish animal abusers. On April 17, McLeod, as part of the push to stop state house from passing the bill, sent Holt this fairly innocuous email:
Dear Representative Holt,
Have you seen the editorial in the Tennessean today opposing HB 1191, the whistleblower suppression bill intended to cover up animal cruelty?
The Tennessean editorial board condemns the bill, noting that the “bill would certainly take our state in the wrong direction, toward more senseless violence.”
We very much hope you’ll agree with the Tennessean and oppose this dangerous bill. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Public Policy Coordinator
Farm Animal Protection Campaign
That really irked Rep. Holt, so when the state house passed HB 1191 later that day, he couldn’t help but gloat to McLeod this angry email:
To: Kayci McLeod
Cc: Andy Holt
Subject: RE: Please Oppose HB 1191
I am extremely pleased that we were able to pass HB 1191 today to help protect livestock in Tennessee from suffering months of needless investigation that propagandist groups of radical animal activists, like your fraudulent and reprehensibly disgusting organization of maligned animal abuse profiteering corporatists, who are intent on using animals the same way human-traffickers use 17 year old women. You work for a pathetic excuse for an organization and a pathetic group of sensationalists who seek to profit from animal abuse. I am glad, as an aside, that we have limited your preferred fund-raising methods here in the state of Tennessee; a method that I refer to as “tape and rape.” Best wishes for the failure of your organization and it’s true intent.
State Representative – District 76
How, exactly, animals suffer by being observed by Humane Society investigators remains unclear, but what does seem clear is that the only person here who has succumbed to the siren call of sensationalism is Rep. Andy Holt, the latest member of the CEFAD pantheon.
Tennessee rep’s email calls Humane Society methods ‘tape and rape’ [The Tennessean]
Image via AP, Erik Scheizig