Speak the Truth about Agriculture
Mar 13, 2010
While listening to the Illinois House of Representatives debate bills on the legislative floor on Thursday, I was completing redundant office tasks on a typical work day. The normal partisan battering back and forth on various bills blared from my computer’s speakers served as a my much needed background noise until one familiar voice, Representative Jim Sacia (R-89), began to introduce his bill on the final stage of passage. He began by asking the floor noise to be hushed so everyone can clearly hear his bill introduction. As he announced that the Horse Slaughter bill would be called for a vote, all tones began to become muzzled and he had my full attention. I too, a beef producer, was hanging on his every word as Sacia began to explain that he held in hands enough votes to pass HB 4812 -legislation to allow slaughtering horse for meat in Illinois again-after devoted time dedicated to explaining the importance of the legislation and clearing up misconceptions planted strategically in the minds of the non-agriculture lawmakers. (It must be noted that there is minute number of Illinois Representatives and Senators out of 177 legislators who have agriculture background and even smaller number who actually today engage in farming or ranching.)
He shared on the record that despite his effort and the effort of all agriculture to pass this important legislation that the Illinois Senate Leadership (Democrat) has already informed him that they would block his bill from moving into the next leg of its journey. In a strong passionate voice Rep. Sacia also explained that an individual who contributes “just $19.95 a month” for year (total of $228 year) to the HSUS – Humane Society of United States -to support hands on sheltering of cats and dogs only $1 will actually be given to those local shelters. (A current fundraising campaign launched by the HSUS to collect millions of dollars. Some of the remaining dollars are spent on efforts to place misconception in the ears of those non-agriculture lawmakers.) Leaving that as his last powerful statement, he asked for the bill to be pulled from the record so his fellow colleagues who agreed to vote “yes” for the truth and allow Horse Slaughter in Illinois again would not suffer negative repercussion.
As I reflect on the actions that transpired that afternoon, I was quickly angered by the actions of the Senate Leadership to once again allow fear of not being re-elected stand in the way of legislation to be actually debated and voted on. But, more importantly on the positive side I salute Representative Jim Sacia for passionately Speaking out for Agriculture.
National Ag Week is upon us once again, I challenge you to make it a priority to be an Agvocator (a term I borrowed from fellow Ag Twitters-Thank You). Advocating for Agriculture can be a simple as telling your agriculture story to one person every day whether you chose to do it online or in person. Seize the opportunity to open your farming or ranching operation to average citizens and become their reliable source for facts about agriculture. GO AG!