Target: Governor of Idaho, C.L. “Butch” Otter
Goal: Overturn a law criminalizing animal abuse investigations in Idaho
Idaho joined the ranks of several states pulling the blinds on agriculture when a landmark bill was passed criminalizing unauthorized investigations on animal facilities. The law, signed into effect by Governor Otter, gives enormous protection to agricultural facilities by prohibiting video and audio recordings on operations ranging from farms to animal seed processing plants. The result is that animal activists will have to risk penalties of up to one year in prison, a $5000 fine, and restitution to the facilities they attempt to expose.
The law comes in response to a 2012 investigation by animal rights group Mercy for Animals, which showed workers at Bettencourt Dairy physically and sexually abusing cows. Despite the company’s firing of the workers and their implementation of a worker training program, this law demeans the results of that investigation by quelling any further probing into animal abuses in the entire state. Many people see the move as an attempt from the agricultural industry, and their governing supporters, to cover up further infringements of animal rights.
Governor Otter cites reasons such as ‘security of property and livelihood for farmers’ as an argument for the bill. However, one of the world’s largest dairy farms – located in Idaho – has opposed this bill. CEO of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukayav, pleaded with Governor Otter to rescind the bill saying, “[it] would limit transparency and make some instances of exposing the mistreatment of animals in the state punishable by imprisonment.”
We cannot allow this bill to pass unchallenged: it destroys animal activists’ abilities to expose dreadful wrongdoings in Idaho, and sets a precedent for other states to follow suit. Sign this petition and pressure Governor Otter to rescind this unjust act.
Dear Governor Otter,
After reading of your signature on Senate Bill 1337, I ask that you repeal this unlawful piece of legislation. The fact that this bill comes as a direct response to the Mercy for Animals investigation into sickening animal abuses in 2012 is staggering: how can you justify criminal action against perpetrators of animal abuse, and then criminalize the very actions which brought about their reprimand?
This law, as you know, has been opposed from many sides, and has now taken on a national interest. The CEO of one the largest dairy farms in the world, Chobani, has expressed severe opposition to this bill. How can it be that the very people you purport to protect are undermining this bill? This legislation protects only institutions that are committing terrible animal abuses – such as the Bettencourt Dairy incident – and allows them free reign to continue the horrifying practices your state has already seen.
You will continue to see staunch opposition from animal rights groups, your own dairy farms, fellow senators, and the people of the world as this story spreads. Do the right thing and decriminalize our right to protect animals from the terrors of abuse. We will not let animals be left at the mercy of cruelty.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kay Ledbetter via Flickr