When Kentucky’s House Bill 222 was originally introduced back in January by State Representative Joni Jenkins, its aim was to eliminate the use of gas chamber euthanasia in the state’s animal shelters. Sounds like an excellent piece of legislation, right? Well, it was until Big Ag interests got their hands on it.
Once the bill left the House of Representatives and entered the state Senate, the Senate Agricultural Committee tacked on an ag-gag amendment to the animal protection bill.
According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the amendment was “covertly added to HB 222 less than 24 hours before the bill came up for a vote.”
To put it simply – WTF.
This controversial amendment comes just weeks after the HSUS released shocking and downright disgusting undercover footage taken at Iron Maiden Farms in Kentucky, showing mother pigs being “fed the remains of their diseased piglets” along with typical “industry standard” abuses such as the extreme confinement of pigs in gestation grates, the HSUS reports.
As with other ag-gag legislation, Kentucky’s amendment would criminalize whistleblowers by making it illegal to document animal abuse and other violations in agricultural facilities.
Yet, what makes Kentucky’s more startling is the fact that, unlike Idaho’s recent law, it was snuck into an existing, well-supported piece of legislation.
Rep. Jenkins is completely in shock at the Senate Committee’s move.
“It was noncontroversial. I don’t think many people were ever against it. To take a simple bill and make it something much more complicated, and maybe even unconstitutional, is certainly disturbing,” Jenkins said to ABC News. “I would hope it just dies.”
Let’s hope this new amendment dies too, and do everything we can do to see it through. If you are a Kentucky resident, please call your legislators today and urge them to oppose HB 222’s new ag-gag provision. After, please sign this HSUS petition which will send a follow-up message to your legislators and Gov. Steve Beshear.
Image source: Humane Society of the United States / Wikipedia Commons