Target: Idaho Governor Butch Otter
Goal: Reject a proposed bill that would criminalize and suppress whistleblowers in the agricultural industry
It should hardly come as news that large-scale agricultural companies are often responsible for shocking mistreatment and abuse of animals on factory farms. Yet that doesn’t slow the introduction of bills to suppress or criminalize whistleblowers who expose these conditions to the world. The dairy industry in Idaho is no exception, and is pushing legislation to introduce a bill to suppress whistleblowers who reveal cruelties and abuses. Sign this petition to demand that the Idaho legislature reject this bill.
Without investigation of factory farms, there is no evidence that can be used to protect livestock from cruelty or to prosecute companies for infringement of animal welfare laws. Whistleblowers allow the public to see what goes on behind the scenes at factory farms and give voice to animals that have none. Criminalizing and suppressing whistleblowers is wrong-headed. As the Idaho dairy business has demonstrated, there is continuing abuse and cruelty towards the animals on factory farms, and a concerted effort to keep the public in the dark about how their food is produced.
Though the dairy business in Idaho is not alone in pushing bills to criminalize investigative whistleblowers, rejecting the proposed bill sets an important precedent in demanding transparency of factory farm operations, as well as protecting the rights of animals used in these businesses. Investigations into the Idaho dairy business revealed acts of cruelty and mistreatment that would have otherwise been ignored and unaddressed. If we cannot trust the agricultural business to be forthright and honest—or even to make concessions toward protecting livestock—then we must rely upon whistleblowers. To criminalize their actions sends the wrong message and condemns millions of animals to continuing abuse and suffering. We must not allow this to happen.
Dear Governor Butch Otter,
Though I understand some of the reasoning behind the recent bill to criminalize whistleblowers, I urge you nonetheless to reject the proposal. The Idaho dairy industry has proven that abuses and mistreatment do occur, and were it not for whistleblowers, none of this would have come to light. We have a duty to protect animals in agricultural operations from abuse and cruelty, and whistleblowers provide the means to uncover what goes on behind the scenes in food production, when government regulations and protections fail.
Criminalizing whistleblowers only allows companies to keep abuses and maltreatment hidden from the public eye. Should this bill pass, millions of animals will continue to suffer without advocates who can expose cruel conditions and unacceptable industry practices. The agricultural business has a notorious history of animal welfare violations and mistreatment that whistleblowers bring to light. It is imperative that we hold the industry responsible, and passing this bill will only make that more difficult. I ask that you reject this bill, not only to protect the welfare of millions of animals, but also to ensure the increased transparency of megafarms and dairies that might otherwise go without in-depth scrutiny.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Larry Rana via Wikimedia Commons