… the only two Florida pig farmers who used so-called "gestation cells"are exiting the business, capitalizing their porcine assets. The Pigs Were Saved; the Pigs Are Dead
(Another Lesson in Political Reality from Florida)

The pigs are dead, gonna be Jimmy Deaned into sausage, perhaps coming soon to a breakfast table near you. The voters of Florida, suckered into an animal rights initiative that added pregnant pig protection to the Florida Constitution, killed the pigs.

While some of those voters may well plead diminished capacity, contributory negligence or involuntary pigslaughter, they are most certainly guilty as accessories to unintended consequences, that ever-increasing side effect of political acts. Faced with a ban on the methodology for housing pregnant sows, the only two Florida pig farmers who used so-called "gestation cells" are exiting the business, capitalizing their porcine assets. (For background on the Florida initiative, read: We, the [Pregnant Pigs] Of the State of Florida…)

"If you had to be tortured and killed or just killed, I think most of us would go for just killed," rationalized a PETA spokesvegan who didn't even attend the funerals.

Well, yes, forced to choose between false premises, "just killed" might be the option of choice, akin to a mark's pick in three-card monte. In the case of pig farming, "tortured" is in the eye of the beholder. The differences between terrorist and freedom fighter come to mind. Killed, however, is killed. Not much room for postmodern relativistic interpretation there.

Although the American Veterinary Medicine Association, a somewhat more credible source than PETA, endorses the birthing habitats that the Florida initiative eliminated, voters chose to believe people who eat kale. (Not to cause dissociative issues for vegan hordes, but don't veggies suck nutrients from the precious planet? Aren't non-leather shoes made from byproducts of petroleum? Aren't hemp plantation workers exploited?)

It won't be long before the unfortunate of us who live where initiatives are allowed will be again pestered by special-interest groups convinced that representative government established by the Constitution is an alien plot. Lest you, too, be suckered when they return, there are some basic rules for dealing with initiatives, and it's never too soon to learn them.

There is, of course, an easier, better way to deal with ballot initiatives. Just say no. With the rarest of exceptions, initiatives are mischievous undertakings that behave badly once set upon a largely bewildered populace. Remember that business about how one citizen can make a difference. Ninety-nine times out of a 100 that's not true, but a large unruly mob is a whole different story. Tea, anyone?

December 20, 2002
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