Oh, boy. The water is boiling over.
Earlier this week, we reported that Carrie Underwood was getting the Dixie Chicks treatment in regards to her support of animal rights and her outspoken outrage of the Ag-Gag bill, which has now passed both chambers of Tennessee legislature. It sits on the desk of Governor Bill Haslam to be signed into law.
To recap: When the bill passed late last week, Underwood tweeted her disgust, "Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who's with me?"
Immediately, this sparked an even more heated debate. TN State Representative Andy Holt caught wind of her tweet, sending a little message of his own, "Carrie Underwood, have you read the bill? I assume not. You are only going off your HSUS talking points. Use logic, not emotion."
Later, in an interview with WSMV Nashville, Holt blasted Carrie, telling her to "stick to singing."
To which Underwood replied, "I should stick to singing? Wow…sorry, I'm just a tax paying citizen concerned for the safety of my family."
Well, in a brand new interview with The Weakley County Press, Holt declares his stance (again) on the issues and vows not to back down. He even takes his vicious shots at Carrie even further.
“Carrie Underwood is a self-proclaimed vegan vegetarian,” he says. “She has had entanglements with the Humane Society of the United States for years. She’s proven herself to be absolutely out in left field as it relates to a lot of these animal cruelty convictions, and for that reason, I guess in my mind she has marginalized herself."
He adds, “I think she has proven herself to be not somebody who is interested in the principle law-making decisions. She’s interested in brokering the emotion associated with animal abuse, and it is a very emotional topic for a lot of individuals.”
Holt then goes on to say that he asked Carrie on Twitter if she had read the bill.
“She never responded,” he says. “And I presume that she either has not read the bill or maybe she has read the bill but still will not see what is clearly written in black and white: that the ultimate goal of this legislation is to end livestock abuse as quickly as possible.”
It's not a secret that the Humane Society of the United States has always been at odds with outrageous politicians. Holt labels the organization as “a radical animal activist group that is basically like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) with a suit on.”
In light of his comments, he confesses that he's gotten quite a bit of overwhelming negative reaction (and for good reason, too). He's even received his fair share of death threats, and he says he's keeping a close eye on all his personal online accounts. He says there “are people out there who are just waiting to find out anything they can on me and use it as much as they possibly can.”
“I’ve had everything from death threats in the last couple weeks to just awful, terrible emails and phone calls that my secretary in Nashville has had to endure,” he continues. “People have gotten my personal cell phone number, personal email and the email to our (family) farm and written awful, awful things. It’s really kind of amazing how crazy — and I mean that literally — some folks are about some of these topics.”
On a similar note, he says it's nothing new to get these threats when working on such controversial legislation as animal rights.“These (‘radical animal activists’) are people who, for all practical purposes, this is their religion,” Holt said.
Another major concern with these Ag-Gag bills is the infringement on the First Amendment (specifically freedom of speech and freedom of the press). These animal rights activists groups are being hindered in their undercover work in reporting horrible acts of animal cruelty. Holt addresses those concerns, as well:
“We recognize there are some folks who have said we’re going to trample on First Amendment rights with this legislation because it would circumvent the Shield Law and force media outlets to turn over their unedited documentation to law enforcement authorities in the same manner as it would for anyone else who intentionally and knowingly goes out to find animal abuse. We do want that documentation turned over to law enforcement within 48 hours or the close of the next business day.”
He goes on:
“I honestly believe that the concerns of the governor and his careful study of this law is not based on animal activists pleas to have him veto this law. I believe from my conversations with him that his real concern is that we are not in some way infringing on the first amendment rights of individuals in the press and of our greater constituency.”
Late last night (April 25), Carrie tweeted, once more, to Haslam, "This is why we need whistleblowers. Thanks to all those involved in rescuing these horses."
She then linked to a gut-wrenching video of unimaginable abuse infliced by trainer Jackie McConnell on his horses. He pleaded guilty in federal court in September.
How much longer can this debate go on? Well, it's a much-needed conversation, and I admire Carrie for sticking to her guns on the issues. In fact, she tweeted her gratitude for her legions of fans for sticking by her, "Seriously…I love you tweeps! Just thought you should know. Have a blessed week! 'You shine like a diamond, glitter like gold!'"
On her official fan club page, she wrote:
I also want to thank you so much for the support you've been giving me lately about my first venture into politics! ha ha…you all know I usually stay far away from political issues if I can help it. But, as Aaron Tippin would say, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." 🙂 For better or worse, I'm sticking to my guns and standing up for what I know in my heart is right! I just hate giving you all a reason to have to defend me to anybody.
You can read more about Holt's newest interview here.
So, readers, I pose this question to you: Has Holt gone too far in his criticism of Carrie and her beliefs?
Feel free to continue the discussion in the comments. Also, come find me on Twitter, and you can email me if you want to talk even further.
Photo Credit: Matthew Wittkopp (via Wikimedia Commons)