05 PM | 18 Mar

“Bills Seek End to Farm Animal Abuse Videos” [#geekgirl]

WTF Files Indeed

…yep, unfortunately you did read that title correctly. Only in ‘Murica would potential advocates of animal torture certain sectors of the agricultural and farming community seek to stop the *documentation* of animal abuse, not the abuse itself:

…state legislators across the country are introducing laws making it harder for animal welfare advocates to investigate cruelty and food safety cases. Some bills make it illegal to take photographs at a farming operation. Others make it a crime for someone such as an animal welfare advocate to lie on an application to get a job at a plant.

Bills pending in California, Nebraska and Tennessee require that anyone collecting evidence of abuse turn it over to law enforcement within 24 to 48 hours — which advocates say does not allow enough time to document illegal activity under federal humane handling and food safety laws….Patterson’s bill, sponsored by the California Cattlemen’s Association, would make failing to turn over video of abuse to law enforcement within 48 hours an infraction punishable by a fine.

Critics say the bills are an effort to deny consumers the ability to know how their food is produced.

“The meat industry’s mantra is always that these are isolated cases, but the purpose of these bills is to prevent any pattern of abuse from being documented,” said Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States, which conducted the California and Vermont investigations.

In Indiana, Arkansas and Pennsylvania it would be a crime to make videos at agricultural operations….Formal opposition to the California bill comes from the ASPCA, the Teamsters, the HSUS and dozens of others. They say these attempts by the agriculture industry to stop investigations are a part of a nationwide agenda set by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think tank backed by business interests.”

Just how an institution like the American Legislative Exchange Council can justifiably label people who document extreme and unnecessary animal abuse as “terrorists” is anyone’s guess: “ALEC has labeled those who interfere with animal operations “terrorists,” though a spokesman said he wishes now that the organization had called its legislation the “Freedom to Farm Act” rather than the “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act.”

In this age of accessible whiz-bang-internet-info, I occasionally stumble across a news item [like the above] that makes it past my rigorous internal “do-not-simply-react-affectively-and-let-these-idiots-get-to-you” filter. This particular news item has me broiling in my own anger juices shaking my head in flabbergasted frustration. I’m also left confounded at just how the advocates of such Bills can see themselves as providing any type of reasonable moral compass when it comes to ethical issues: perhaps instead all they see are dollar signs.

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