Big Agribusiness is fed up with pesky animal rights activists who expose abuses of farm animals on film. According to the Associated Press, agriculture committees in the Iowa state government have approved a bill to outlaw secret filming of animal abuses and punish the accused with a $7500 fine and up to five years in jail.
Strangely, consumers may actually want to know if their meat is being electrocuted, beaten, or ground up alive as some recent videos have exposed. Consumers may also want to know what the animals eat, if they ever see sunlight, if they are injected with chemicals, or even genetically cloned. Since the FDA does little to shine light on these and other concerns, activists have been the only source of this information. Now, they will face jail time for doing so if this measure passes.
“They’re trying to intimidate whistleblowers and put a chill on legitimate anti-cruelty investigations. Clearly the industry feels that it has something to hide or it wouldn’t be going to these extreme and absurd lengths.”
The excuse for the legislation given by the committee was that they were just trying to “prevent people from fraudulently seeking jobs in order to shoot videos that may give an unfair perspective on livestock operations.” This type of thing needs to be legislated in the Land of the Free with all the problems the country faces?
The Humane Society, who releases several undercover videos per year, called the legislation “draconian.” Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society said “What’s needed is reform of these factory farms that will prevent cruelty to animals. What’s not needed is to make factory farming cruelties more secretive.” Paul Shapiro was a contributor to the whistleblower video below:
Big agribusiness claims that these activists are radicals who want all livestock farming shut down. On the contrary, many are just seeking a healthier product and agriculture quality reforms which reflect that.
It is unlikely that grass farmers like Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, who raises pastured livestock, will be targeted by animal rights activists. Salatin, famous for his appearance in the book Omnivore’s Dilemma and the movie Food Inc, lets his animals live and eat as nature intended them to do. His animals are happy while living, and far healthier when eaten.
But strangely enough Satalin has been attacked by big government regulators because he won’t conform to raising animals in government-sanctioned concentration camps. He even wrote a book about it called Everything I Want To Do is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front.
This Iowa measure seems to be yet another example of big corporations using big government to criminalize those who seek to lift the veil on corrupt and abusive behavior — or to make the consumer advocate the bad guy. Yes, consumers may be concerned about the conditions in which their meat, poultry, and pork has been raised. Where are they to turn for that information if the people’s government is constantly in corporate cover-up mode?