Vol. 1, Issue 10, July 22, 2003
Random Numbers for All Purposes
The Voice Of Reason

Utah Man Arrested for Polygamous Livestock

In a sign that Utah is still struggling to come to terms with its history, the state has arrested a man for fostering polygamous practices.

Alan Green has been charged with two counts of facilitating bigamy. Many feel the charges are prompted by a desire to remove the association of polygamy from Utah and encourage the development of high-tech industry clusters in areas such as information technology. What is unusual about this case is the fact that Green himself is monogamous. He is, however, being charged with willfully fostering polygamous practices among his livestock.

"It came to our attention that Mr. Green has arranged for up to twenty female cows to be partnered with just one bull," said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. "Following an investigation, we found that similar arrangements had been made for his herd of horses, and that the ratio of hens to roosters was suspiciously unbalanced."

Polygamy was an integral part of the original Mormon religion and is part of Utah's heritage. The church founders followed an Old Testament practice that served a dual purpose of populating a rugged and barren state. But Washington strongly opposed it, and the practice ceased to be sanctioned by the end of the 19th century; polygamists are now excommunicated from the Mormon church. For years, however, a small segment of the population continued to engage in polygamy unmolested by law enforcement officials. That changed when the Olympics came to Salt Lake City in 2002. Now, critics say, the pendulum has swung too far.

"It is not, generally speaking, economically feasible to run a farm based on strictly monogamous principles," said Utah Department of Agriculture representative Bryan Hennessey. "The overzealous crackdown on all manifestations of polygamy extending to animals has pretty much killed Utah's livestock industries." It has also had a deleterious effect on dog breeding in the state.

Others approve of the crackdown.

"Our farm is very healthy and productive now that our animals are following acceptable social norms," said fellow Utah farmer Tom Palfrey. "I can tell you this - my cows are much better adjusted than they were before." Palfrey, whose farm receives $42 million a year in "Moral Farming Support" grants from the State, asserts that the apparent economic collapse of Utah's livestock industry since last year is a "temporary setback."

Shurtleff agrees. "Once America sees what a wholesome state we've become, we expect those high-tech companies will be banging down our door."

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