Expose CAFO conditions—Stop the Ag-Gag Bills!

May 17, 2011
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CAFOThe communications director for the third-largest pork producer in the country has co-sponsored legislation to keep cameras out of his CAFO. You’d think he had something to hide. A state-based Action Alert.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Factory farms. Poultry prisons. Whatever you call them, they are a national horror. And as we reported recently, a number of states are trying to pass laws to make it illegal to film or photograph inside factory farms without permission. Clearly they do not want the shock and shame of these places revealed to a public that votes with its pocketbook.

Now more than ever, CAFOs need more scrutiny from the public, not less. The L.A. Times recently reported that almost half the meat in stores may have drug-resistant bacteria. Another study finds salmonella to be less prevalent in organic chicken—a finding that stands in sharp contrast to the incredibly unhealthy conditions at chicken farms.

By exposing unlawful animal cruelty, and deplorable environmental, working, and animal conditions, citizens are doing the jobs that regulators are unable or unwilling to do: protecting consumers and animals from feedlot operations that are breaking the law.

But this very activity has the factory farms running scared—and they are trying to stop it via the state legislatures. A new bill has been introduced in Minnesota that is a version of the bills in Iowa and Florida we told you about a few weeks ago. Thanks in part to your efforts, the Florida “Gag-Ag” bill was defeated last week! It passed the Florida Senate, but the House has withdrawn it from consideration and it died in committee! The other bill passed the Iowa House, but the Senate has not yet voted on it. Iowa residents: if you have not already done so, please write your state senators today and stop SF 431!

But back to Minnesota. HR 1369 and SF 1118 are outrageous bills. Not only do they provide for new criminal penalties and civil liabilities for those who document what goes on at CAFOs, the law also seeks to penalize the “participants in conspiracy” as well—whoever would use or publicize the videos or photographs. This is an obvious shot at the organizations that are highlighting the illegal abuse and unsanitary conditions of CAFOs.

The bills would prohibit recording, possessing, or distributing an image or sound recorded at an animal facility. They would also outlaw “obtain(ing) access to an animal facility by false pretenses for the purpose of committing an act not authorized by the owner of the animal facility.” The first offense would constitute a gross misdemeanor; the second, a felony.

Wait, it gets worse. Who would introduce such a bill, which is so obviously pro-Big Farma? Why, it’s Big Farma! The sponsor of the bill, Minnesota House Republican Rodney Hamilton, lists his occupation as “pork producer.” But he’s not just any pork producer. He’s the communications director for third largest pork producer in the country.

The Minneapolis-based organization Simple, Good, and Tasty did some superb research into the bill and learned that a majority of the bill’s co-authors are indeed factory farmers or are otherwise connected with the CAFO industry.

Co-sponsors are already dropping from the bill, so let’s send a powerful message to the rest of them. If you are a resident of Minnesota, please contact your state legislators and voice your opposition of these bills!


TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO THE MINNESOTA STATE LEGISLATURE

Click THIS LINK to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.

We’d also love to hear your comments about this article—just add your thoughts below—but remember that the messages below are only seen by our ANH-USA readers and not Minnesota Legislature, the FDA, etc.

11 Responses to “Expose CAFO conditions—Stop the Ag-Gag Bills!”

  1. [...] The highest risk occurs if animals or humans eat infected brain or nerve tissue. Meat unconnected to bone, milk, and hooves are supposed to be safe, but who knows for sure? The ultimate source of mad cow, of course, is the filthy and disease-ridden (not to mention inhumane) conditions in CAFOs, or concentrated animal feedlot operations. [...]

       0 likes

  2. P. OC. says:

    Our citizens’ rights are being stripped away, one by one. We are truly becomming a facist state. It’s a very sad and scary time.

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  3. Janet Church says:

    Huh? Who are the fascists, the ones trying to pass the Ag-Gag bill and protect their lobbyists payoffs or the ones trying to keep our food manufacturing transparent (then we can pick our poisons). I like the way MN fights back but you have as tough a road as WI with our deluded Republican puppets.

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    • BJ says:

      To think that the problem is caused by “Republican puppets” or “Democrat puppets” is just what the powers that be want. Always blame the other side, and not the whole concept of immoral, illegitimate control of one group by another when no harm has been done by the group being controlled. The problem is that WE are the farm animals, the tax herd, and it doesn’t matter whether the Dems or Reps are currently our overlords. Government control of the populace is the problem. Simply until people realise this, stop giving more and more power to them, laws will get more and more controlling, until we have no rights left at all. To accept this truth, that our Government, does not care a whit about us, but only wants our money and labor, is the really hard and painful part: but I believe that this is the truth.

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  4. Let’s admit the obvious — there are fascists in control of every aspect of the U.S. Government!

       1 likes

  5. I don’t understand what you are asking me to do, since I am not a resident of Minnesota, nor actually do I know anyone who is. Sorry.

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  6. gus gomez says:

    If the meat industry wanted to take down Queen of TV, Oprah Winfrey, think what it would be like for the mere mortals to try to fight this giant monster? Truth is, animal meat sucks. Not because of the animals but because the industry sucks at how they raise them, treat them before slaughtering them, and how disgusting meat for profit is. All others are okay. Just not animal meat. Hooked on meat is depressing.

       1 likes

  7. LYN says:

    THANKS FOR BEING ON TOP OF THIS. THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO TO ALERT ALL OF US.
    THE ACTIONS OF BIG FARMA ARE ‘ BIG EVIL’ AND THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WHO PASS THESE LAWS IN FAVOR OF BIG EVIL FARMA ARE GROSSLY NEGLIGENT AND IGNORANT.

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  8. Elaine Cassata says:

    Our food supply has more re-calls than necessary. We are sickening the population, and often worse. The only way to keep us safe any more is by constant monitoring of the handling and cleanliness of our products.

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  9. Joanne says:

    If this were puppies or kitties that would be a crime and there are people sitting in jail for that very thing. But because they are livestock they are classified differently? Can you please tell me again what country we live in? Who does our brazen government think they are? Thank you for getting the word out! As long as there are people minding the store, they won’t get away with it. Thank you again!!

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  10. Rachel Olsson says:

    End CAFOs.

       1 likes

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