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Move to Help Animals Goes Terribly Wrong in Kentucky

Move to Help Animals Goes Terribly Wrong in Kentucky

Lawmakers just won’t give up when it comes to trying to silence animal cruelty whistleblowers, but this time they’ve stooped to a new low by sneaking an ag gag provision into a bill that was intended to improve animal welfare in Kentucky.

Earlier this year Rep. Joni Jenkins introduced a bill (HB 222) that was intended to help animals by banning gas chambers and setting other euthanasia standards for shelters in the state, which would have been a win for animals.

Unfortunately, after the bill was passed through the House, the Senate Agricultural Committee added an ag gag provision that’s intended to silence whistleblowers who expose cruelty to animals on farms.

The committee took it upon itself to sneak language in at the last minute that will make it illegal to interfere with an “agricultural operation” by gaining employment or access through misrepresentation or fraud to record images or sound, or trespassing to take recordings. Violators will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $250 fine.

Jenkins said the the provision makes the bill “much more complicated, and maybe even unconstitutional” telling ABC News that she’d rather not see it passed at all as it’s now written.

Animal advocates are criticizing the move as a sneaky way to fast track an ag gag bill through the legislature without anyone noticing, while some believe the provision was added in response to an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that exposed horrific conditions and cruelty pigs were forced to endure at a Kentucky hog farm just weeks ago in February.

The investigation was conducted at the Iron Maiden Hog Farm in Owensboro where, among other problems, investigators found that piglets who died from a contagious diarrheal disease were ground up and fed to their mothers, which isn’t just sickening, but illegal under state laws.

“It’s no coincidence that just a month after the HSUS exposed appalling animal abuse at a Kentucky pig factory, the state’s meat industry has hijacked a pro-animal bill by slipping in an ag-gag provision that would silence whistleblowers who expose animal cruelty and food safety violations,” Matthew Dominguez, public policy manager for farm animal protection for the HSUS, told the Earth Island Journal.

Senate Agriculture Chairman Paul Hornback told the Lexington Herald-Leader that secret videotaping “has been a problem all over the country,” but undercover investigations clearly aren’t the problem. Instead of taking meaningful action to deal with the underlying issues at farms that investigators are working to expose, lawmakers are again trying to shield agribusinesses from accountability by making sure the public never finds out about them.

Not only do these ag gag laws threaten animal welfare, but they also threaten the environment, food safety, workers’ rights and free speech. In this case, the ag gag provision won’t just hurt farm animals and consumers, but homeless animals who could have otherwise been spared an inhumane death.

TAKE ACTION!

Please sign and share the petition asking Kentucky lawmakers not to pass this bill as it’s written.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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116 comments

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3:06AM PDT on Jun 19, 2014

Petition signed and shared.
Everyone on the Senate Agricultural Committee should resign since they have no compassion for animals!
I think whistleblowers are doing a great job because they are trying to help the animals to be treated humanely!!

10:03AM PDT on May 19, 2014

I am just disgusted and angry, even though I have seen many times this kind of images, I always feel sick, I'll never get used to it, I can't understand how these workers can do this and than go home to their lovely families just like nothing terrible happened

5:45PM PDT on Apr 8, 2014

DISGUSTING!

11:23PM PDT on Apr 5, 2014

Can't stop the signal, Mal.

10:09AM PDT on Apr 5, 2014

well said, Myraida

10:09AM PDT on Apr 5, 2014

signed with hope

10:08AM PDT on Apr 5, 2014

horrible

6:29PM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Signed sick and sad

12:48PM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

Do not eat meat and the problem will be solved by itself and in peace. The business exist because people wants to satisfy their taste for meat. If there is demand, there will be offer. There is no way to kill a pig ,a goat, lamb, cow, Horse, chicken etc... without causing distress and suffering. That simply do not exist. So, since the beginning, this is a total disadvantage for animals and, for the environment, the remaining good water that is getting affected, the soil and it's also producing hunger in the world. But, this is a personal decision. Animals will keep suffering and dying as long as people insist on bringing their meat to their plates. That's all. This is not about producers but about consumers and not about making vegans but about the ease of suffering. Meat? No Thank You! I do not consume animals I love and I love all.

10:39AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

If what you are doing is so wrong that you have to pass a law to punish a whistleblower who would reveal what you are doing, you are an unethical dreg of humanity.

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Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
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