July 18, 2018

Humane Society Against Idaho Ag-Gag Law

The Humane Society of the United States is running television ads in Idaho opposing a bill proposed there to ban undercover investigations, also known as ag-gag laws. An investigation in 2012 by Mercy for Animals exposed animal cruelty at an Idaho dairy factory farm prompted the bill.

Cows in FieldThat undercover video led to the arrest of a manager and two other employees at Dry Creek Dairy, owned by Bettencourt Dairies. Employees were seen on vilm beating and electrically shocking cows, twisting their tails to inflict pain, and dragging a cow who couldn’t walk by her neck with a chain attached to a tractor. So the state’s dairy asked for a law banning undercover videos.

Lisa Kauffman, HSUS’s Idaho state director said in a statement, “The Idaho dairy industry’s damaged reputation is only going to be worsened by this crude attempt to silence whistleblowers.” Eleven states have introduced ag gag bills last year; every one was defeated.

These investigations have exposed many animal welfare and food safety issues in factory farming. In 2008, an HSUS undercover video revealed animal abuse and triggered the largest meat recall in U.S. history. Much of the recalled meat had been used in the National School Lunch Program.

Animal rights and food safety advocates say that whistleblower suppression bills infringe on freedom of the press and free speech. Some of the agencies that oppose ag gag laws include the American Civil Liberties Union, Clean Water Network, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumers Union, Center for Food Safety, Sierra Club, Human Rights Watch, Food and Water Watch, National Consumers League, and Southern Poverty Law Center.

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