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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LINK: Why Blake Shelton's Animal-Cruelty Tweet Matters

Why Blake Shelton's Animal-Cruelty Tweet Matters

July 28, 2012, by Barbara J King, NPR

This is a story of twitter and the turtle.

Blake Shelton, country singer and a star of TV's "The Voice," tweeted yesterday that he swerved his vehicle to "smash" an Oklahoma box turtle. When my friend, herpetology expert John F. Taylor alerted me to the tweet, I replied to Shelton asking if his comment was a bad joke or was he really so cruel?

As BuzzFeed has suggested in publishing our conversation, Shelton's response wasn't courteous: he told me to "shut up." Since then, he and some of his followers have called me and others who questioned him names so rude and colorful I can't print them here (they're at the @BlakeShelton and @bjkingape feeds if curiosity moves you).

The name-calling is juvenile and annoying, but not the main issue.

Apparently the original tweet was a bad joke, and Shelton wasn't even in Oklahoma yesterday. Take a look again at BuzzFeed, though. Are fans really killing turtles in honor of Shelton? I hope those tweets are just bad jokes too.

But by experiment, a NASA scientist recently found out that 6% of drivers do intentionally swerve to hit animals, turtles among them. That's animal cruelty, and we don't need a singing and TV star, especially one considered to be animal-friendly, encouraging it.

From Wikipedia

Shelton Tweets About Intentionally Swerving to Hit Turtle

On the morning of July 27, 2012, Blake Shelton Tweeted that he had intentionally swerved onto the shoulder of the road in order to hit a turtle, sending a number of his animal-loving fans into an uproar [22]. Within hours, a screenshot of his Tweet had gone viral throughout the herpetoculturist community and both his Twitter account and Facebook page were flooded with comments from animal lovers all over the nation voicing their opinions on the matter.

According to Oklahoma state law this is considered a felony:

Oklahoma Statutes Title 21. Crimes and Punishments. Part VII. Crimes Against Property. Chapter 67. Injuries to Animals.

§21-1685. Cruelty to animals. Any person who shall willfully or maliciously torture, destroy or kill, or cruelly beat or injure, maim or mutilate any animal in subjugation or captivity, whether wild or tame, and whether belonging to the person or to another, or deprive any such animal of necessary food, drink, shelter, or veterinary care to prevent suffering; or who shall cause, procure or permit any such animal to be so tortured, destroyed or killed, or cruelly beaten or injured, maimed or mutilated, or deprived of necessary food, drink, shelter, or veterinary care to prevent suffering; or who shall willfully set on foot, instigate, engage in, or in any way further any act of cruelty to any animal, or any act tending to produce such cruelty, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary not exceeding five (5) years, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one (1) year, or by a fine not exceeding Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00). Any animal so maltreated or abused shall be considered an abused or neglected animal.

Change.org petition to get OK. to at least fine him (though it is a felony)

Some background on Shelton’s past, opinion’s and previous Tweets. Basically he is a bigoted drunk.

Blake Shelton says record label tried to get him off Twitter
July 11, 2011, 3:38 PM EST

Blake Shelton says his record label threatened to shut down his Twitter account out of concern that his messages were overly candid and sometimes offensive.

Shelton, who has recounted his drunken nights on Twitter, caused controversy in May after posting what many took to be an anti-gay remark: "Re-writing my fav Shania Twain song.. Any man that tries Touching my behind He's gonna be a beaten, bleedin', heaving kind of guy." He later apologized for the tweet, characterizing it as a misunderstanding.

He tells The New York Times, "There was a point where Warner Bros. was, like, 'We've got to get Blake off Twitter, 'cause he can't say these type of things.' I hope that people learn from me. It's OK to be yourself. It's OK to offend somebody, and, as a matter of fact, please be polarizing. If you're not polarizing, you failed in my opinion. If you don't stand for something, how can anyone respect what you do?"

1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

Blake Shelton is a redneck.

What do you expect?

I'm much more concerned with the conservation problems that box turtles face, which are actually directly affected by roads.

If you go driving down a country road in my part of the world in the late spring, the box turtles come out and bask on the asphalt, which means they die.

These animals are being chopped up into little islands, which is terrible for their genetic diversity. The same goes for timber rattlesnakes, which are usually too timid to cross roads. Black rat snakes usually aren't so timorous, and they very often get intentionally killed.

When I was a kid, we were out for recess, and a large black rat snake shot across the playground just as we were lining up to go in. I was shocked to hear all the boys in my class talk about how much fun it would be to kill it with rocks. Several of them said that snakes represented Satan's presence on the earth, and that Christians were supposed to kill every single one of them.

I think you'd have a hard time with an animal cruelty charge in this case. Keep in mind that the state in which Shelton operates does commercial rattlesnake round-ups, and you'd have a very hard time finding a jury that wouldn't be sympathetic to him. I doubt a prosecutor would waste his or her time.

If I wonder that if Blake knew how seriously threatened box turtles are, would he still have done this?

I'd like to say no.

But of course he would.