Jun 242014
 

Since many of our readers are animal rights activists, I trust they will know a lot more about this subject than I do and provide us with additional info.  I’ve been a meat lover for too many years to go vegetarian, and attempts to do so in the past have led to wet dreams about hamburger and fried chicken fantasies.  However, I do believe that food animals have a right to be treated humanely, and when they are not, the public has a right to know.  However Republican legislatures in many states are making it a crime to blow the whistle on the meat industry.  They are called ag-gag laws.

0624AgGag

In 2008, the Humane Society  released a shocking video taken in a Southern California slaughterhouse. The footage depicted workers using chains and forklifts to drag cows that were too sick to stand across the floor. The abuse was appalling; the cows’ condition, which indicated a food safety risk, led the USDA to order a recall of 143 million pounds of beef. It was the largest meat recall in U.S. history — and it was all brought about by the work of an undercover whistleblower.

Since then, Big Ag has been hard at work preventing this sort of thing from happening again, but not by actually working to stop abuse — at least, not completely. Instead, the industry’s been pushing states to implement laws, known collectively as “ag-gag,” aimed at silencing activists.

Nine states  currently have ag-gag laws on the books, the most recent of which, in Idaho, takes anti-whistleblower legislation to a worrisome new extreme.  Under the law, signed by Gov. C . L. “Butch” Otter, it is illegal for anyone not employed on the farms — and undercover activists don’t count — to make recordings of what goes on there without the owner’s explicit consent. In practice, that means videos taken of factory farms’ illegal practices — like  this one, which depicts three workers at an Idaho dairy farm beating cattle with a cane, kicking and stomping on them once they’ve fallen and dragging one cow across the floor via a chain around its neck — can no longer legally be made public.

But that these laws effectively allow animal cruelty to go undetected and unreported only scratches the surface of why critics find them so appalling. In the interest of protecting the agriculture industry, ag-gag laws criminalize whistleblowers and, ultimately, ensure consumers remain in the dark… [emphasis added]

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Photo credit: Mother Jones (the graphic there is interactive.  Click through.)

In my younger days, I hunted for meat, not sport.  I considered it an obligation to have sufficient respect for the animal I hunted to send it to my table without suffering.  I passed up shots, because I was not fully confident in a clean kill.  I consider torturing food animals criminal.

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  20 Responses to “You Bust Ag? You Get Gagged!!”

  1. Any experienced hunter wil tell you to always go for a "clean kill". If all you do is injure an animal, you cause stress. Stress causes nitrated proteins which alter the meat. Taste and consistency of the meat is changed drastically. Do youwant tough, odd tasting meat? Sometimes it's better to buy Kosher or Halal meats because of the practices used in killing the animals.

  2. Been there and done that, exactly as you say, Cat Man, not for sport (how anyone could do that and call themselves hunters repulses me to no end) but to put food on the table when times were lean. Always respect the animal that is sacrificing its life to further yours. Always. That being said, Though it would greatly supplement our supply, neither my husband nor myself can hunt anymore, let alone want to. I have to be very careful in trying to be as vegetarian as possible nowadays because I have ended up in the ER before because of it. I am one of those humans that has to have high animal protein content in the diet. Something in my pancreas isn't right or so the Dr told me. However, I never buy factory farmed beef, poultry or pork. I know exactly where my meats/poultry comes from and how they are raised. Pricey, yes, but we eat way less that way and are thankful for what we get and are always conscience of the animal's sacrifice.

    I hate the very idea of factory farms/ranches and feed lots. They hire the worst of the worst to maintain the animals so there is a horrible amount of abuse, torture and gleeful carnage. They are abominations, no animal was ever meant to be husbanded in that manner. Ever. Yet, that is exactly what sociopathic fascists love–torture, abuse and gleeful killing with no respect for anything let alone the animals themselves. Beyond revolting. Ag-gag makes it where they can do as they wish to anything they wish when they wish without any accountability to anyone, especially not to the public or the government.  Criminal is an understatement.

  3. I've seen the videos, and they literally made me turn my head away, they're so nauseating.

    These are sentient animals – such cruelty is a sign of major psychological sickness. 

    But I'm not sure the wink-and-nod by Rethuglican state legislatures affording protection of these sickos isn't worse. 

  4. Ag-gag laws protect the criminal.  What if we passed child abuse gag laws too?  Or robbery gag laws?  What's the difference?  Laws should protect the innocent, not cover up the guilty.  

    Who do these ag-criminals think the are?  Politicians?

  5. As you say, TC, many of us are animal activists, and are rightly outraged by the inhumanity with which factory farmed animals are treated.  As such, we tend to emphasize the animals' pain.  Unfortunately that just doesn't work with many people.  If we want to get mainstream support, we need to put more stress on two other aspects of the problem, which we don't ignore, but sometimes we undersell.

    1.  Public health.  The article above points out that the 2008 video released by Humane Society eventually led to  a recall of 143 million punds of beef.  Do you remember that?  I don't, but I should.  We all should.  People who don't care about farm animals still often care about their health, and if they have children, they care A LOT about their children's health.  We need to make more of how, if ag gag laws are in force, big ag is given the right to poison us without our knowledge.  Even people who don't grasp GMO (because "the government" keeps calling it safe) can grasp the concept of recall.

    2.  Public safety.  There is plenty of evidence that people who will treat animals the way factory farm animals are treated have no problem treating humans the same way.  Granted that any given person is far less likely to run unto a serial killer than to be poisoned with tainted meat, humans are funny, and are much more frightened of a less likely event than of a more likely event, especially if the less likely event is sensational.  Look at how the TSA has used this.  I don't think I could write this presentation, but someone could.

    TC, I think you may understand the whole situation yourself far better than you claim to.  Look again at the Upworthy video you posted in the Open Thread for June 8 of this year.

    • Joanne, I agree with you. Too many people are not interested in animal welfare, but will be interested in their own.  If we can make them see that these practices can harm them as well, they might act.  I am not a vegetarian, but aspire to be.  No animal should be mistreated or put in pain.  These factory farms are heinous and need to be severly regulated.  

    • Excellent point, Joanne!

  6. Stopping smoking is similar to giving up meat.  If you can do one, you can do the other.  Both are adictions.

  7. There should be Inspectors at EVERY site handling animals, on every shift, & they should have the authority to Shut Down any site not practicing correct, safe handling. Being from a very rural area, I hate the very idea of Big Ag, it has ruined "family farms"…and gagging is just adding insult to injury! They don't CARE how many people die from Mad Cow, etc.!   I wonder if John Mellencamp or Willie Nelson could be sued for their efforts to expose Big Ag & Big Finance's War on Family Farms???

  8. TC, I have never hunted or knowingly killed an animal, but I grew up in a rural area where most people had chickens, pigs, and cows and they were the source of family protein.  Without them, they would have starved.  I didn't realize until a few years ago what cruelty was happending to the animals who provided the meat sold in stores.  I am in the process of becomng a vegetarian. My doctor has told me it is not wise to do it "cold turkey". I quit eating chicken 25 years ago.  I seldom eat red meat anymore, but eat fish instead.  These ag gag laws are just more of the Republicans protecting their base contributors, they don't care about people, why would they care about animals.  NO animal should suffer cruelty, whether it be a pet or an animal meant for food.

  9. Here in BC, there is an animal abuse case on-going at the Chilliwack Cattle Co.  Here is a link from McLean's Magazine, a well respected (but not perfect) news magazine  https://ca.news.yahoo.com/animal-welfare-watchdogs-go-undercover-210222354.html

    Mercy for Animals Canada situated an undercover investigator at the company for a month and uncovered gross abuse.  The investigators filed a report, including video, with the BCSPCA who then did their own investigatiion and have recommended to the Crown that criminal charges against 8 employees be filed.

    This has brought out a lot of information and rancor between activists and company supporters.  But at least here in Canada, reporting abuse like this is not illegal.  It is a sad day indeed when humans think they can "lord it over" other animals and not be accountable.