Do you ever stop and think where that meat you’re eating comes from? Or do you assume that the animals that give their all to supply you with bacon, chicken and beef live an idyllic life on grandpa’s farm until the time comes?
If certain elements of the agriculture industry have their way, your fantasies may be all you ever know. If you live in the US, there may be a a bill moving through your state legislature that is known as ag-gag.
What is ag-gag? Basically, it’s a bill that, if passed into law, would prevent investigations of animal cruelty on farms. They are anti-whistleblower laws.
So, what’s the big deal?
In some states, the law would make it illegal to go undercover to investigate animal cruelty. In other states, you can do so, but the first time you videotape animal cruelty, you have 48 hours to turn it over to law enforcement. That means you will not be able to build a case. Instead, the abuser will most likely get a slap on the wrist and go on his or her happy way.
If they’re doing nothing wrong, what do they have to hide?
If you live in Iowa, Utah, Montana, Kansas or North Dakota, you already have ag-gag laws on the books. Nebraska, Wyoming, California, New Hampshire, Indiana, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Mexico, Vermont, and North Carolina are all considering ag-gag bills this year. North Carolina’s bill was introduced on the same day a Butterball turkey plant employee pled guilty to animal cruelty as the result of an undercover investigation. Five workers were charged with criminal animal cruelty, and a top-level Department of Agriculture official was convicted for obstruction of justice in that case.
If you live in Tennessee, the state Senate will vote on April 16th, so you should contact your elected officials TODAY and let them know where you stand on ag-gag. To find out who your elected officials are, you can go to Votesmart.org, put in your zip code, and find out who represents you in state and federal government.
Still think this has nothing to do with you? Then consider this, The USDA issues licenses and regulates puppy mills in the US. USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture. That means that in some states it could soon be illegal to go undercover and investigate puppymills.
Hmmmmm….. maybe you’ll want to take a look at that bill after all? I sure hope so.