States Outlaw Videotaping of Animal Cruelty

Dead-pigWhat kind of society passes laws like these? Well about 12 states in the US, for a start. Richard A. Oppel, Jr. reports for the New York Times:

On one covert video, farm workers illegally burn the ankles of Tennessee walking horses with chemicals. Another captures workers in Wyoming punching and kicking pigs and flinging piglets into the air. And at one of the country’s largest egg suppliers, a video shows hens caged alongside rotting bird corpses, while workers burn and snap off the beaks of young chicks.

Each video — all shot in the last two years by undercover animal rights activists — drew a swift response: Federal prosecutors in Tennessee charged the horse trainer and other workers, who have pleaded guilty, with violating the Horse Protection Act. Local authorities in Wyoming charged nine farm employees with cruelty to animals. And the egg supplier, which operates in Iowa and other states, lost one of its biggest customers, McDonald’s, which said the video played a part in its decision.

But a dozen or so state legislatures have had a different reaction: They proposed or enacted bills that would make it illegal to covertly videotape livestock farms, or apply for a job at one without disclosing ties to animal rights groups. They have also drafted measures to require such videos to be given to the authorities almost immediately, which activists say would thwart any meaningful undercover investigation of large factory farms.

Critics call them “Ag-Gag” bills.

Some of the legislation appears inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business advocacy group with hundreds of state representatives from farm states as members. The group creates model bills, drafted by lobbyists and lawmakers, that in the past have included such things as “stand your ground” gun laws and tighter voter identification rules.

One of the group’s model bills, “The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act,” prohibits filming or taking pictures on livestock farms to “defame the facility or its owner.” Violators would be placed on a “terrorist registry.”…

[continues in the New York Times]


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51 Comments on "States Outlaw Videotaping of Animal Cruelty"

  1. InfvoCuernos | Apr 8, 2013 at 8:51 pm |

    “What kind of society passes laws like these?” – the same kind that bans testing for CJD (Mad Cow) in the US. As a people, we are completely separated from our food supply, and no good can come of that.

    • Chaos_Dynamics | Apr 9, 2013 at 12:02 am |

      The corporatocracy kind.

      Quite intriguing is the potential incubation period of 20-50 years for vCJD.

      Interestingly the EU is currently considering lifting the ban on feeding by-products (processed animal protein such as intestines, blood, bones) to livestock.

      These rules were imposed after previous BSE/vCJD outbreaks.

      Researchers believe another wave is certainly ahead given the nature of the incubation factor.

      So do I.

  2. Business = Government

  3. LucidDreamR | Apr 8, 2013 at 10:12 pm |

    If there is one thing that I personally keep taking from things like this, or legislation protecting monsanto, or endless unsupported wars, etc, etc; it’s that trying to stop this machine from within is an exercise in futility. Whether it’s animals rights, the environment, peaceful protests… it’s painfully obvious our voices don’t amount to anything as far as the ‘powers that be’ are concerned. We can become self-reliant in our food and energy needs, stop feeding the oil and auto industries on personal levels; which surely goes a long way. What else can we do to “throw our bodies upon the gears”?

    • kowalityjesus | Apr 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm |

      never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers.

    • Ittabena | Apr 9, 2013 at 3:11 am |

      Ya know, I actually heard a statistic that legislators applied a 1300 figure to their calls and letters and emails. In other words if 1000 people call on one subject, they take that to mean there are 1300,000 people out there that feel the same way.

      Problem is we don’t call them, or write them, or email them anymore. Instead we make our feelings known on sites like this and figure we have let our voices be heard, or ignored, as the case may be. But is that the case? We feel better for venting, sure. And we did sound off, but aren’t we for the most part preaching to the choir here? Not that I don’t do the same thing, but this is not where our voices will be heard, and we all know that’s true.

      So now we have to wonder if this is all not another part of the factionalization that some of us complain about from time to time, And the thing has been woven so elegantly that we agree to ignore what we know and go for the bandaid we get from venting.

      Maybe we should start calling our lawmakers. It’s a little scary the first time, but there is no good reason for that, and it is only further evidence of how far and deep the programming has been.

      Just a thought.

      • kowalityjesus | Apr 9, 2013 at 4:54 am |

        you show a rare bent for affectatious pragmaticism…there don’t we feel better now that I’ve used some big words?

        In our defence, the true avenues of power are obscure and suprising. Have you ever been in the psychic limelight, somewhere between waking and sleeping?

        • Ittabena | Apr 9, 2013 at 9:19 am |

          “the true avenues of power are obscure and suprising”

          True, and I do understand that, but I also understand that one of the most powerful lobbies in DC is the NRA, Why? Because they have so many members and because they will get on the phone or email and make themselves heard. I also know that several times in the recent past the people have gotten so loud about an issue that it has caused Congress to drop what it was trying to do. Is this the answer to all of our ills? No, of course not, but it can work. and yet we are not working that fact.

          “Have you ever been in the psychic limelight, somewhere between waking and sleeping?”

          You are opening a can of worms here, but I am just not sure which can of what kind of worms. This sentence could be describing meatphysics, but it describes equally well my time in high school, or even most of the time I spent as a printer. It could also describe the trances I used to go into as a child, only to be snapped rudely out of it by my pragmatic, adopted father. Or, it could be hinting at what Bill Hicks said so well in his It’s Just A Ride bit, though in this case “bit” is probably not the best category to lump it into. Or, I could well be missing the point entirely. I am, after all, still on my first cup of coffee.

      • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Apr 9, 2013 at 9:37 am |

        I thought it was that each lobbyist brings an envelope of $1300 to each meeting. Ah well…

  4. SCOTUS just ruled in favor of citizens videotaping police. If one did got caught taping animal cruelty in one of those state, you probably can cite that SCOTUS police taping ruling as precedent when you get to court, and most judges would toss it out of court at that point. Lower level judges detest being reversed.

  5. bobbiethejean | Apr 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm |

    This is unprecedentedly stupid. We’re in the middle of a middleclass meltdown that doesn’t appear to be getting any better and THIS is what our legislators are doing?

    • Calypso_1 | Apr 9, 2013 at 11:23 am |

      While local lawmakers are passing laws making it illegal to have your own chickens.

      • bobbiethejean | Apr 9, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

        Person: Hi Bobbie, how are you doing?

        Me: *Twitch, twitch.*

        Person: Why is there a big crater in the middle of your desk?

        Me: I put it there. *Twitch*

        Person: Uh….. how exactly did that…. um….. happen?


  6. kowalityjesus | Apr 8, 2013 at 11:46 pm |

    Factory farming is tragic, inhumane, and totally wasteful, but there are people that make it look sadistic when most farmers are indeed NOT.

  7. BuzzCoastin | Apr 9, 2013 at 12:16 am |

    honestly the ban means absolutely nothing
    it’s not like these pictures ever caused a ruckus among the sheeple
    this way they can eat factory meat without having to think about where it came from
    the ban will get more attention than the pictures

    there is a position between vegan & factory farm
    which can not only grow food sustainably & ethically
    but also provides a way out of the mad cow system

    • Monkey See Monkey Do | Apr 9, 2013 at 3:52 am |

      You can grow food sustainably and ethically and remain vegan. I guess you could buy a cow and put it on the ‘rape rack’ if you like.

      • BuzzCoastin | Apr 9, 2013 at 4:11 am |

        depends on which denomination of veganism
        but sustainable needs animals for labor & fertilizer
        and bees for pollination & insect control

        veganism is a philosophy & an idealism
        isms are not sustainable

        • Sustainability is creating a symbiotic relationship with the environment not an exploitative relationship. This is at the heart of veganism.

          The idea of sustainability is not of what is wanted, but what is needed. Veganism may not be easy, but it is sustainable.

          You can feed one person a sustainable diverse diet for every eighth of an acre. Do you really need farm animals for labor on that small amount of land? When you factor the environmental costs to sustain a beast of burden, where is the point at which you as individual consumer come out ahead and still provide a sustainable existence for the animal?

          And how much fertilizer do you need? If you are working with sustainable model. You can more than likely hu-manure and compost what you need to for your eighth an acre.

          Sustainable growing you can grow plants that keep insects and critters away. You can also create land features that are sustainable and work as a deterrent for other creatures.

          Bottom-line Veganism can be sustainable. More so than an omnivorous attempt at sustainability.

          • BuzzCoastin | Apr 9, 2013 at 10:10 am |

            well I don’t know any vegan farmers
            but I’m sure there’s some
            without animals:
            you need to import nitrogen & other minerals
            you need to find other means of aerating the soil
            pest control
            animals generally have multiple uses
            and can run on renewable energy

            true, you don’t need animals for an 1/8 acre
            but you are still going to be a consumer
            and not independent & sustainable

            once when living in a wilderness environment
            people with unusual diets
            (vegan, raw, fruities, organic only, no additives)
            would hike in for the wildo experince
            and usually by day 3
            they had shifted to a see food diet,
            they see food, they eat it

            PS: there has never been a vegan civilization

          • Still an eighth an acre can provide everything for one grown person. We will say a quarter acre if you want to have something to replenish the soil for the next year.

            You can grow nitrogen rich plants plants to use as a support system for your garden.

            Minerals can still be acquired. through the decaying corpses of just about any living creature.

            Aerating soil is something my partner and I do every year manually.

            the very notion of multiple uses of a non human animal can also be applied to a human.

            Day three is anecdotal at best. The ‘wildo’ experience is a want, not a need, If a vegan places themselves in such an environment without a clue at the demands of the environment that is foolish and hardly vegan. Further, three days without eating is pretty easy. not drinking is just stupid.

            Thank for reminding that there has never been a vegan society, the word has been around since the 40’s. How long have the Jainists been around? There is what like millions of them living in India. I am just curious, would they be considered a civilization? Sure you can argue that some Jainists consume dairy, but it is dairy that is gotten without violence or exploitation of the animal producing it.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 9, 2013 at 1:05 pm |

            most jains consume dairy, and religious restrictions prevent the strictest from consuming roots and bulbs, it’s hardly analagous to western veganism.
            i think what buzz is saying about animal ‘labour’ and what you’re saying about milking a cow are practically the same. you can’t argue for full veganism, when you allow for that.

          • BuzzCoastin | Apr 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm |

            good points
            but not a model nature provides
            it’s still an unsustainable philosophy
            like Jainism, which is a Vedic based religion/philosophy

            > Minerals can still be acquired. through the decaying corpses of just about any living creature.

            exactly right, but it’s OK because…?

            the other point Jainists & Vegans often miss is
            plants are alive and conscious too
            and we regularly exploit their reproductive organs
            in order to survive
            all life lives off death
            that’s nature’s way

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Apr 10, 2013 at 2:11 am |

            Repeat the mantra after me – ‘This is necessary’

          • BuzzCoastin | Apr 10, 2013 at 2:35 am |

            you can ignore Nature and evolution if you’d like
            OK by me
            but without animals in an ecosystem
            it’s artificial & unsustainable
            just ask the American Indians of The Plains
            who had their buffalo exterminated &
            their ecosystem destroyed by lack of buffalo
            ultimately resulting in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl
            less than 100 years later

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Apr 10, 2013 at 2:50 am |

            But I’m all for animals in the eco-system?. We’re on the same page with factory farming. As far as I know your self-sufficient so It’s up to you on whether you kill your animals, your doing better than most are for the environment.

          • BuzzCoastin | Apr 10, 2013 at 3:27 am |

            right, you don’t have to kill the animals
            and those that do
            know that they killed a living being
            and eating animals isn’t the only use they have

            the problem with philosophy is that it’s an abstraction
            and abstractions are not the territory

            and I’m not fully self-sufficient yet
            but I will be in less than 5 years
            chaos willing

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm |

            i think ‘more so’ is an exaggeration. there are also people who eat a predominately carnivorous raw diet, which meets exacting criteria for sustainability. i think people need to do what works for them, and what is applicable culturally to them.

            i’d hate to think of the tibetans who are hard pressed to grow anything but small crops of sorghum and barley and eat a yak based diet be told they must subsist on a vegan diet- which is not contextual to their environment.

            or the inuit from traditional villages who typically forage fruit and roots in the summer months but eat whale, seal and shark in the winter months- be told to grow food on a frozen tundra.

            i could not slaughter an animal that i’ve raised, i fully admit to it. but i won’t moralise my position, or imposition others with that morality.

          • the issue taken was with Veganism not being sustainable. This was not a call for the world to become vegan. Simply that sustainable farming practices can be vegan.

            Eating meat that is sustainable is quantifiably more difficult and a greater burden on sustainability than hunting. If you are going to eat the meat hunt it.

            Further, Jainism is very strict on how dairy is acquired, If a cow, for example is forced to be pregnant for her life that is not an allowable source of dairy. Dairy in India is very different than dairy in the US. The Jainists in our community do not consume dairy unless the violence caveat is met.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Apr 10, 2013 at 2:10 am |

            All excellent points Todd. Thanks for chiming in when I didn’t have the time too. The vegan practice cannot be thought off flippantly, Its very fleshed out (excuse the pun). Thanks for exposing the major flaws in the omnivore ideology, Its a shame your points haven’t been directly answered but I presume its because they cant debate them.

          • You can raise animals on land not suitable for crops. It can be just as sustainable as horticulture and more sustainable than mono crops of corn and things like that.

      • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Apr 9, 2013 at 9:32 am |

        You’ve never seen an animal in heat, have you? I had a sow break down a barrier to get bred when she was ‘hogging’. She comes up to me for belly scratches every time I come around. I’m happy to obliged her.

        Animals are a part of ecology. Any method of sustainable food production mimics natural systems. That means integrating animals in some fashion. That doesn’t mean torturing them. It doesn’t even necessarily mean eating them. Although avoiding that last part may lead to a Malthusian dilemma for one’s dogmatic agenda. I’ve come to terms with my ecological niche, so it’s not a problem for me.

        • Jin The Ninja | Apr 9, 2013 at 12:48 pm |

          i’ve already determined, come a collapse or removal to rural environs, i would not be eating meat- but i would keep chickens for the eggs and goats for milk and the nitrogen fixing and foraging they do. i personally could not slaughter an animal out rightly after keeping it for an extended time- although a small bison herd seems amenable in theory- i just couldn’t do it. i hold much respect for those that can, but i’m a bit too soft in that way;)

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness | Apr 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm |

            I totally understand your position. Some people get around that by having someone else do the deed, but you and I know that’s a cop out. I take in the larger critters that we sell because that’s the law, but it always feels like I’ve turned my back on them; much worse than when I home-slaughter for personal use. I care way more than the plant workers ever could. In most cases I raised the animal’s parents, let alone the animal itself.

            On the days that we turn roosters into tenders and drumsticks, I move slowly and speak to them gently. By days close, I’m more tired than my body needs to be for the work that was done. It’s not something I could do everyday, but it must be done occasionally to maintain the genetic integrity of our heritage breeds.

            For the backyard enthusiast, such considerations aren’t necessary, but for anyone who presumes to breed animals, they owe it to the population to take responsibility for the selection of traits for future generations.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 10, 2013 at 1:23 pm |

            i totally agree with everything you’ve said here.

          • well, that’s honest. A very balanced view, really.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm |

            i dislike the forced imposition of values on anyone, and i’ve been around enough places and peoples to know that eating animals is not ‘wrong.’

          • I’m actually very sensitive to other living creatures. I always have been. I never callously kill bugs. When I had my sled dog team I got in the habit of feeding them roadkill deer. I don’t think it desensitized me really so much as it familiarized me with turning them into food, and how other living creatures rely on them. Because these weren’t steaks obviously, I bought at a store. So from this experience, I decided I could hunt, I got a license that year but didn’t use it, by that time I was going through a divorce and selling the land.

            But I plan to do it. If I get a deer I will look at it as a precious life giving gift. I have no problem with ethical farming, but between the two hunting is probably more ethical than even organic free range livestock raising.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm |

            i’m totally in agreement regarding hunting vs organic farming of livestock. i’d actually be okay to hunt personally. it’s not something i was raised with, or have know how, or something i would do currently, but i know i could do it if the opportunity presented itself. i strongly didn’t mean to imply you or anyone else who raises their own livestock is insensitive towards animals! in fact, the opposite- i really can and do respect that- i think it is the ultimate form of respect- if you eat it, you should be the one to slaughter it. i just know myself, and that i couldn’t do it.

          • Yeah, I had to shoot a sled dog once and it was really hard. He was suffering and I put him out of his misery, but still it was rough. If I raised a pig or something I fear it would be like that all over again. Still, I respect people that do it, like you said.

            Factory farming is just bad. It just creates a stinky death smelling environment. Its just obviously wrong on so many levels.

          • Hunting and fishing got my brother and me our meat supply when we were in college. Fortunately, we went to school in one of the premier hunting areas in the country. Our father was also a hunter and fisher so we grew up eating game animals and fish on a regular basis.
            Factory “farming” of animals is not just inhumane but also contributes to environmental degradation. If one is a meat eater then at least once in your life you should kill and butcher an animal that you eat – it will give one a useful perspective on being an omnivore.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Apr 10, 2013 at 2:34 am |

            Really? Are you just trying to be nice to our alpha-brethren? don’t worry we’re online, Ted wont get you in a triangle-choke. Your not soft Jin, your compassion is strong, your brutal empathy crushes all ignorance before it. The only exceptions are obvious for any educated vegan, subsistence hunting and barren environments.

          • Jin The Ninja | Apr 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm |

            i’ve never been particularly generous with online niceties.

            but i’m not a vegan, i don’t advocate for veganism in any distinct way, i am a vegetarian (wheat free, sugar free, mostly macro) who occasionally forays into the shared cultural experience of food which happens to be wholly carnivore. sometimes the act of eating with family is more important. whether that is chinese or singaporean, or whatever. sometimes locale and culture take precedence- if i were to say visit an inuit village, i would in fact eat whale, seal etc when offered.
            i also eat fish, and have no problem with eating fish, fishing or the cleaning of fish (okay, i lied- i don’t like nor am good at subsequent cleaning). but yes, i couldn’t slaughter an animal for food that i had raised, which is why i almost never eat meat.
            however, i am not opposed to other people doing it. if an animal is humanely raised and humanely slaughtered- i am actually for it. i am against over-consumption and mass-production in the same way i am against GMOs, and big agro in general. respect is ultimately the most important value of food production. respect for the earth, respect for life. and i respect those who practice said value- in ways i am unable to.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Apr 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

            Fish are poisonous to eat, full of mercury and toxins they collect from the polluted oceans. Fish are incredible creatures, often their sentience is taken for granted because they are such a different life-form than us, research concludes that they actually have more pain receptors than most mammals, and feel the most intense pain around their mouth.
            If I’m on the road for work than sometimes vegetarianism has to take precedence, esp. in more rural settings. but there is never a need to eat meat. (occasionally I’ve had too out of respect for native culture if I’m working with them…but not often).
            However which way you try to cut it… there is never a humane slaughter, I would call subsistence hunting something more akin to sacrifice.

          • So, if you don’t eat fish all the other animals like seals, dolphins, otters, other fish etc. will follow your example and give up fish eating too and then the fish will all live for ever in a big peaceable kingdom?

            I mean seriously? What is the point of this as an ethical system? Beyond some idea of personal purity like abstaining from sex or something? It seems to only go so far. I see a factory farm,like a hog farm and I see death and suffering on a massive scale, thousands of gallons of toxic shit forming small lakes, etc.

            But a bunch of people catching smelt on a beach, it just seems natural. What could possibly be wrong with sustainably harvesting animals? Not that people always do it, but it seems like a much more far sighted goal than some type of personal abstinence.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Apr 11, 2013 at 2:36 am |

            I’m happy for other animals to continue with their natural diets. That’s a ridiculous argument Ted, that we should disregard our free-will and ‘see and do’ just like the other animals. Between that and Buzzcoastin’s “its natural” argument, I expected better from you guys.

            Look up the ethicist Peter Singer for a broad outline for how veganism and vegetarianism can be a rational and scientific ethical system. Why does abstaining from sex make you pure? Maybe if your part of some cult or out-dated religious tradition designed to control you. I agree about the factory-farm being death and suffering on a massive scale, it’s like a holocaust for a lower species. The sustainable farming practice people should be engaged in is permaculture, community vegie gardens, backyard vegie gardens, and vertical hydroponic farms. If people sustainably harvest animals for food and give them a full free life (so no veal, lamb etc). Than its obviously much better than the factory-torture system. In a modern world with our current technology we have to start making better ethical decisions, and that involves moving to vegetarianism and veganism.

  8. Daenerys_Targaryen | Apr 9, 2013 at 3:43 am |

    Quite creepy, really.

  9. Jeb Morningside | Apr 9, 2013 at 6:25 am |

    This is dumb, but at least it’ll piss of the PETArds….

  10. emperorreagan | Apr 9, 2013 at 10:35 am |

    Meat, traditionally, is associated with affluence. The supply of cheap meat is as critical as the supply of cheap electronics to maintain beliefs about the quality of life.

    Humanely raising animals would increase the price of meat. Humanely raised meat is already more expensive and a “luxury” item. If it was the only meat on the market, you could expect that meat overall would be substantially more expensive.

    Humanely raising animals would also destroy the business model of companies, where the company pays the farmer a minimal amount to raise as many animals as possible in a company specified structure, transports them to a giant processing plant, and slaughters them in barbaric fashion (Incidentally, typically relying heavily on immigrant and illegal immigrant labor, because a disenfranchised labor force can be treated inhumanely as well).

    So touching animal welfare is a double whammy for politicians. Their donors will be pissed and the middle class that they talk about all the time would realize that they’re not quite as well off as it seems.

  11. InfvoCuernos | Apr 10, 2013 at 5:18 pm |

    hey, I like the internet, please tell me how I can make $18137 in a few hours! or you could go stick a roman candle up your bot ass, that would be ok too.

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