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Fowler on Food Stamps: Don’t Feed the Animals

David Fowler, president of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, worries that too many people are on food stamps, and they are becoming dependent on government handouts, reports The Tennessean.
His solution, posted on his personal Facebook page, is to follow the advice of the National Park Service: “Do not feed the animals.”
“Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves,” Fowler wrote in the post. “This ends today’s lesson.”
Similar advice has been used by conservative politicians and pundits to criticize the federal food stamp program, known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have proposed reducing funding for the program, which serves about 46 million Americans.
Fowler’s remarks angered Jennifer Bailey, an outreach specialist at Community Food Advocates in Nashville, a nonprofit that helps people get food stamps and works on local problems with hunger.
She said the “don’t feed the animals” comparison dehumanizes food stamp recipients.
“It removes the human face of hunger,” she said. “No human being is without dignity. That is something that should be remembered.”
…(Fowler) He said that he believes all people should be treated with dignity and that all people are made in God’s image.
“The obvious point of the post is that government can foster and create dependence on government,” he said. “Government creating human dependence on government demeans human dignity and is antithetical to human freedom government is intended to protect.”
He said he would be more careful about future Facebook posts.