Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bills would criminalize animal welfare whistleblowers

Right-wing Iowa legislators have been on a binge of crazy lately, and you can hardly hear them over the condign ridicule.

Yesterday, the Iowa Senate approved a bill to punish animal welfare activists who try finding jobs at places like factory farms and slaughterhouses in an effort to expose inhumane treatment of animals. One lawmaker said, "People are trying to get into these places, saying they're a plumber or they're this or that, they're going to take care of your livestock with no intention of that whatsoever. They're trying to bring down this business."

Well, if a business disobeys animal cruelty laws, it deserves to be brung down. Don't shoot the messenger if you don't like the message. If a factory farm won't follow the law, it has no business complaining when animal welfare folks expose it.

This follows the Iowa House's approval of a bill that would impose 10-year prison terms for activists who videotape animal cruelty violations occurring at these facilities.

Why is the factory farming industry running scared and trying to criminalize animal welfare activism? It's because their violations were being exposed, and THEY CAN'T STAND THAT. Restaurants have stopped buying from factory farms that have been caught abusing animals, and this chafes the factory farms to no end. The findings have also led the Humane Society to work to double the size of cages at egg farms to give chickens more room.

If the corporate farming firms don't like being exposed for doing the wrong thing, they should have been doing the right thing from the get-go. But they didn't, and now they expect lawmakers to cover for them. What does it say about the state of our political system when legislators represent corporations but not the people who expose them?

Plus, factory farms are driving small family farms out of business. If lawmakers truly cared about farming, they'd represent family farmers, not huge factory farms.

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