My sister, Dr. Knopf (on right), volunteering to neuter and spay barn cats at a Dressage barn
Ernest Hemingway's home, and now a museum in his honor, is in Key West, Florida. He had a six-toet cat named Snowball that became the subject of a recent lawsuit. A visitor to the museum wanted more stringent welfare conditions imposed on the care of the cats (though they reportedly already have inside beds, free roam a lush property, are fawned on by visitors, and fed twice a day).
A federal court held last week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a federal government agency, has jurisdiction and control over the care of the cats!
The Federal Government, funded by our tax dollars, is responsible for and has the right to govern the care of descendants of Hemingway's cats. Cats! (Currently at a count of 50, but we know how quickly that number can multiply!)
I really like cats. I'm sure many of you have barn cats, cats that get along with your horses, cats that sleep with you at night. Cats can be a special part of our animal families.
But I disagree with the court's far-reaching conclusions.
The court said that because visitors cross state lines to go to the Ernest Hemingway museum, and that the cats are an important part of the museum's commercial purpose (so visitors can experience the cats the way Ernest did), therefore the cats are part of interstate commerce and can be regulated via the Commerce Clause.
So what about descendants of famous horses? Seattle Slew, Man O' War, Seabiscuit, Gemtwist, Hickstead? Those descendants are governed by business law (economics largely) and registry rules. The state racing boards are government agencies, so in a sense I suppose the registry of famous racehorses is managed by government bodies.
Alternatively, if your horses are an integral part of your equine commercial business, and that business has an affect on interstate commerce (showing, breeding, trailering across state lines), is the door opening for the government to have jurisdiction to regulate your horses (beyond your requirements to comply with state/ federal welfare laws)?
Something interesting for you to think about as you care for your horses and cats today, especially since it's rainin' cats outside!
Have you been to the Ernest Hemingway museum?
Do you think the federal government should have more control over famous animal lineages (or those animals affecting interstate commerce)?