Distance Rates The Degree Of a Problem - June 2010
I remember Larry Bourret talking about how folks in Louisiana
have a hard time getting too worried about wolves, while we in Wyoming don’t get too worried about hurricanes. This probably explains the gnashing of teeth we hear from people in Washington, D.C. about Arizona’s recently passed law on wanting law enforcement officials to check for citizenship status.
Like most people who are being interviewed by the media, I’ve not followed this issue nor read the legislation, but unlike most I will be the first to admit that I haven’t read the legislation. But I’ve always felt people who live with a problem should be allowed to try and address the problem without “experts” from several thousand miles away jumping on the criticism band wagon.
We hear about the problems unchecked illegal immigration is causing ranchers along the border. With the recent murder of, from all accounts, a good Samaritan rancher, I can’t help but get offended by all the pronouncements from big city mayors and big city paper editorials on the east coast about how bad Arizona’s law is.
What is more offensive however, are the pronouncements of folks who live close by a problem, but don’t bother to find out enough about the problem to speak intelligently about the issue. This still doesn’t stop them from criticizing those who are trying to solve the problem.
Recently a horse advocacy organization established a program to take in unwanted horses with an eye towards rehabilitating those who could be rehabilitated, and humanely euthanizing those who could not. After they were euthanized, they would possibly use the horses to feed animals in zoos, or even feed people in other parts of the world. Two newspapers located in the largest urban areas of Wyoming immediately pronounced their dislike for this plan.
Apparently it’s okay to let a horse suffer from neglect, or let a landowner in Wyoming shoulder the burden of care for someone’s unwanted problem horse, but it’s not okay to support an organization’s efforts to solve the problem. Of course, these newspapers don’t have a good alternative or any alternative that works for the problem except let those who are currently shouldering the burden keep on shouldering it.
We who are closest to this unwanted horse issue have seen what happens when people who don’t have much of a clue about the real problem drive public policy. Wyoming policy makers should recognize this and get the entire story before launching into an emotional reaction to one entity’s efforts to solve a problem.
The other part of this that bothers me is the “full man criticizing the hungry man’s choice of food” aspect. We in America spend less than any other nation on food and we also have an abundant food supply. Yet, in countries throughout the world food is a scarce item.
I’ve watched some of the shows on television where someone from the U.S. travels to another country, generally a third world country, and then sits down to eat with the natives. I’ll be the first to admit that some of the things these folks eat wouldn’t appeal to me. The question that never gets asked is why do these folks eat this stuff? More than likely it’s because sometime in the past it was so tough they ate those things and survived. We see even in Europe where people eat things that Americans wouldn’t touch.
However, for some people to condemn these folk’s choice of food, while stuffing their faces calls into question their humanity. I don’t have much of a desire to eat horse. Give me four days without a meal and I’ll bet I would change my mind. A lot of folks in the world have changed their minds on what they would eat due to a lack of food.
By Ken Hamilton, Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President