Target: Idaho State Senator Jim Patrick
Goal: Protect the rights of activists to document animal abuse on farms
A recently proposed farm bill for Idaho includes controversial agricultural gag (ag gag) provisions that would make it illegal to video animal abuse on farms without the permission of the farmer. Undercover video taping of the conditions on farms is the only way to know what really happens when the farmer doesn’t think anyone is watching. Tell Senator Jim Patrick to protect the rights of activists to expose abuse on farms and to remove the ag gag provisions from the farm bill.
Horrendous conditions and animal abuse have been exposed by activists going undercover as farm workers to document the treatment of the animals on video. They have documented cases of cows being kicked and punched, downed animals dragged across the ground, and animals killed without first being properly stunned. Instead of cleaning up their act and treating farm animals humanely, Idaho farmers are trying to use the law to silence activists and make it harder for them to document abuse.
If this bill passes, activists that surreptitiously enter a farm and record operations will face a one year jail sentence and a $5000 fine. Tell Senator Jim Patrick to stop protecting abusive farm practices and focus on cleaning up the industry instead of hiding the abuse through oppressive laws.
Dear Senator Patrick,
The farm bill currently working through the Idaho state legislature contains provisions that would make it nearly impossible to document animal abuse on farms. Undercover video is one of the few mechanisms available for the people to know what really happens to farm animals when the farmer doesn’t think anyone is watching. These types of videos have documented horrible cases of animal abuse including farm workers caning, beating, and stomping on downed cows at a dairy in Idaho, as well as numerous other types of abuse across the United States.
Instead of addressing the abuse in the farm industry and ensuring animals are being treated humanely, you have decided to silence those documenting the abuse. The ag gag provisions in the farm bill will make it illegal to go undercover and record farm conditions with a potential penalty of a year in jail and a $5000 fine. This section of the law is designed to silence whistleblowers and is unconscionable. The crime is the abuse, not the documentation of it.
Senator Patrick, I am appalled that you are protecting farm animal abusers in this way. We have a right to know if farm animals are being treated humanely or being abused. Remove the ag gag provisions that make undercover recording a crime from the law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ethelred the Unusual via Flickr