January 22, 2018

Tennessee Governor Haslam Vetoes Ag Gag Bill

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has vetoed the so-called ag gag bill that had passed the legislature in his state. That bill had been opposed by the Humane Society and other groups since it criminalizes whistleblowers who seek to expose animal abuse.

Governor Haslam released a statment regarding HB 1191/SB 1248 that said in part, “our office has spent a great deal of time considering this legislation. We’ve had a lot of input from people on all sides of the issue. After careful consideration, I am going to veto the legislation. I have a number of concerns. First, the Attorney General says the law is constitutionally suspect. Second, it appears to repeal parts of Tennessee’s Shield Law without saying so. If that is the case, it should say so. Third, there are concerns from some district attorneys that the act actually makes it more difficult to prosecute animal cruelty cases, which would be an unintended consequence.”

The Humane Society celebrated this decision, saying, “we thank Governor Haslam for listening to his constituents and honoring the Constitution by vetoing this recklessly irresponsible legislation that would criminalize the important work of cruelty whistleblowers. By vetoing this bill, the governor is supporting transparency in horse stables and our food system.”

Others groups, such as the Animal Agriculture Alliance, were disappointed in the decision. A spokesperson for that group told Meatingplace.com that “we are disappointed that [Governor Haslam] did not take advantage of this opportunity to protect farmers and ranchers in Tennessee and the entire animal agriculture industry from those that seek to destroy their way of life.”

Animal cruelty can have an effect on food safety. A study conducted by the Humane Society established that a cause of Salmonella is the intensive confinement of egg laying hens in battery cages. The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production said in 2008 that crowded conditions that farm animals live in are a cause of serious food-borne illness. And finally, animal abuse is unacceptable to consumers who believe that all creatures should be treated with as much respect and dignity as possible.

Comments

  1. Thank God, Finally a Gov. with some common sense, this is not all about animals it is about consumers also, this was the right move and thankful for Gov. Haslam’s decision …… THANK YOU GOV>>>>>>

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