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Let’s Talk About Not Talking About Agriculture

March 21, 2013

They’re deemed “ag gag” bills, and are cropping up as a controversial issue that really shouldn’t be.

Bills pending in California, Nebraska and Tennessee require that anyone collecting evidence of abuse turn it over to law enforcement within 24 to 48 hours — which advocates say does not allow enough time to document illegal activity under federal humane handling and food safety laws.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho thinks that’s a bad idea? You might be surprised to see “humane” organizations and animal rights groups opposed. In some cases, they document for 2-3 weeks, sometimes more, then wait weeks or months before holding a press conference to show it, not turning it in to law enforcement authorities to prosecute. In some cases, only the edited film is allowed to be seen, not unedited tapes, even for investigation into the cruelty.

Personally I think when we’re transparent it allows people to see, and have encouraged discussions about what we do. However, with several of these bills also making it illegal to lie on a job application, I think that should be common sense. Clearly it isn’t. Hello national security – if people can lie about their identity on job applications where does the money for taxes etc go? And if you’re taking a job just to make the employer look bad, as opposed to finding something when working a job, then perhaps it does need to be addressed.

I’ve seen people harass farmers – a foal separated for health issues was under daily veterinary care, but that was left out when reporting it. The foal’s fragile condition was compromised when moving her and she had to be euthanized, rather than possibly recover in her own home. There are those who deliberately turn animals loose, without any understanding why they were as they were to begin with. A horse battling laminitis that is turned into fresh grass can be a death sentence! A pen of animals separated from a field may be because there’s a section of fence that needs repaired, and they’re penned up so the farmer can get to it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are many reasons farmers and ranchers do what they do and, contrary to activists claims, it’s not because of enjoying torturing animals. Many of the videos attributed to farms are in fact slaughter houses…and there are rules there also.

It may not win points but I do think lying about your identity to get a job should be illegal. I think if it’s truly for the animals then promptly turning in all video and photos should be done, not using it for fundraising. If it’s about eliminating animal agriculture, then be honest that’s what it’s about rather than using the excuse of animal welfare. No one wants to see animals beaten. If something is turned in over and over then it seems it documents a pattern, rather than a national media campaign. There are laws in place for humane treatment and if someone is not following them, then report it.

No excuse for the acts caught on tape, but also no excuse for holding onto those tapes for weeks until edited versions can be released in a press conference. Not all is what it seems, even on video. What appears to be may not always be truth. When it is, then swift action to stop it is important!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALet’s not reward dishonesty in reporting. Many of the proposed laws don’t say whistleblowing can’t happen. It says you can’t take a job with a false identity under false pretenses to get information for media campaigns. And if you do find cruelty and record it, that needs to be reported within 48 hours. That seems a reasonable thing.

People can choose what they want in food choices. They always have and always will. If you don’t want gestation crates or caged chickens then by all means exert food choices and buy from farmers that don’t use those practices. If we say we can’t have a stream of visitors then there is likely a good reason, no matter the size or type of farm. Perhaps there’s new babies, or it’s a bad time or a danger of the visitor getting hurt.

It’s not hiding or covering up anything. We don’t have employees but if we did I’d want to know that people are who and what they say. That’s true whether an activist, a two strike rapist or a serial killer. If we don’t have control over who has access to our farms, we don’t have control over our food supply.

To me THAT matters.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2013 2:56 AM

    Reblogged this on Time for Action.

  2. August 5, 2013 12:46 AM

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Trackbacks

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