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The recent push toward ag-gag legislation – laws aimed at banning undercover investigators from exposing animal abuses on factory farms – has been slammed by Matt Rice of Mercy for Animals (MFA) as “misdirected, dangerous, and a slap in the face to consumers nationwide.” All over the world, vulnerable cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals raised for food endure horrific violence and disrespect, usually suffering in silence. If it weren’t for undercover exposés such as those performed by MFA on a regular basis, the truth about these animals’ lives might never be known.
Luckily, Rice states that although “ag-gag laws have been passed in a few states at the behest of the multibillion-dollar meat, dairy, and egg industries, the majority of ag-gag bills have been defeated. In fact, last year 15 ag-gag bills were introduced in 11 states, and all of them were voted down, vetoed or dropped following widespread and vocal opposition from the American public.” And now, a recent, disturbing ag-gag bill proposed in Kentucky can be added to that list!
Ironically, House Bill 222, introduced back in January by State Representative Joni Jenkins, was originally aimed at eliminating the cruel practice of gas chamber euthanasia in the state’s farms and animal shelters. However, other state representatives, backed by the meat industry somehow managed to sneak in an amendment that would “prohibit people from gaining access to an agricultural operation through misrepresentation” (i.e., performing undercover work).
The shock amendment even prompted Jenkins, the bill’s original sponsor, to say, “To take a simple bill and make it something much more complicated, and maybe even unconstitutional, is certainly disturbing. I would hope it just dies.” Fortunately, Jenkins has just gotten her wish, as the Senate voted to deny the passage of the bill on April 15.
PETA has praised this decision, while also celebrating Tennessee’s recent removal of dangerous “ag-gag language” from Senate Bills 2406 and 1892.
It looks like American consumers are finally becoming tired of shady behavior and suspicious cover-ups by the meat, dairy, and egg industries. Many people decide to go vegetarian or vegan after discovering what really happens on factory farms, so it is vital that brave undercover investigators be permitted to continue their work without fear of arrest or intimidation. Let’s hope the anti-ag-gag momentum is here to stay, and the lies of the meat, dairy, and egg industries will no longer be tolerated!
Image source: Jen Zajac / Flickr