Country music superstar Carrie Underwood is known for her feisty lyrics. But Tennessee lawmaker Andy Holt is less impressed with the "Blown Away" singer's animal rights activism and, after she criticized a bill he sponsored, told Underwood she should "stick to singing."
Senate Bill 1248, which would require witnesses to quickly turn over evidence of animal abuse, is now awaiting Governor Bill Haslan's approval. Animal rights activists, including Underwood and the Humane Society, argue the so-called "ag gag" bill would hinder whistleblowers. (Ag gag is a term used by animal rights groups to describe bills that regulate animal farm whistleblowers.)
"This is a preemptive strike against animal welfare groups and against the press who uncover and expose illegal animal cruelty," Wayne Pacelle, the Humane Society of the United States' president and chief executive, told The Tennessean. "This is an attempt to cover up abuses."
The 30-year-old Underwood took to Twitter on April 18 to express her frustration that the state Senate had approved the bill.
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?
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) April 18, 2013
Speaking to Nashville-based NBC affiliate WSMV last week, Holt said his bill is actually in the best interests of animals.
"I think what we need to do is make sure and recognize that if animals are being abused it needs to come to justice, and it needs to come to justice quickly," Holt said. "And that's the intention of this bill, bar none. No matter what anybody tells you. That's the intention of this legislation."
When asked about Underwood's pointed criticism, Holt retorted, "I would say that if Carrie Underwood will stick to singing, I'll stick to lawmaking,"
The singer didn't take kindly to the comment, however.
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) April 20, 2013
Earlier in April, Underwood gained PETA's approval after tweeting that this type of ag gag bill is the "Dumbest. Idea. Ever."
In 2009, Underwood donated a portion of the proceeds of her single "Home Sweet Home" to The Humane Society of the United States.
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