June 24, 2022

Missouri Mulls Ag Gag Bill

Missouri is the latest state to consider passing a so-called “ag-gag” law that would criminalize the act of getting a job at an agriculture production facility expressly to gain access to make audio or visual recordings. Rep. Casey Guernsey, R-Bethany, is the sponsor of the bill which would make it: a Class B misdemeanor to use false pretenses to gain access to an agricultural production facility; a Class A misdemeanor to record images or sounds from such facilities and a Class D felony if there had been a previous violation. These kinds of bills are gaining traction in some agricultural states after footage of animal cruelty captured by “undercover” animal rights activists created several high-profile stories. Four years ago, the Humane Society captured footage of downer cattle … [Read more...]

Iowa Legislature Passes Ag-Gag Bill

Last night, the Iowa House and Senate passed legislation protecting the food industry against whistleblowers. The law would hamper the efforts of people who try to expose problems and wrongdoing in the food industry. The House version of the bill would have added criminal penalties against those who record undercover video at agricultural facilities, such as the video that exposed animal abuse at Butterball turkey farms. But that part of the bill would most likely have been unconstitutional, since the U.S. Supreme Court has found that "films exposing animal cruelty represent the exercise of free speech." In fact, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) filed a lawsuit against Whole Foods last year under the Food Safety Modernization Act. That company fired an … [Read more...]

Cruelty Allegations Prompt Investigation at Turkey Breeding Farm

Law enforcement authorities used a search warrant this week to inspect turkeys at a Butterball turkey facility in Hoke County, North Carolina. The action was taken based on allegations of animal cruelty. Mercy for Animals reported that an activist went undercover at the facility for three weeks ending in mid-December. The activist witnessed "an ongoing pattern of cruelty to the turkeys." The group has a video that shows workers kicking and stomping on turkeys, as well as dragging the birds by their wings and necks. The search warrant included a court order allowing independent veterinarians to euthanize any birds that are determined to be suffering needlessly. Butterball released a statement, saying it has a "zero tolerance policy for any mistreatment of our birds" and said the … [Read more...]

OSHA Sues Whole Foods Market for Firing Whistleblower

Ever since the movies “Norma Rae” and “Erin Brockovitch”, whistle-blowers have been in the public consciousness. Although there are laws in place to keep corporations on the straight and narrow when dealing with the public and developing consumer products, the government can’t be all places all the time. Whistle-blowers have played an important part in revealing problems in corporate America and helping protect consumers. … [Read more...]

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