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Undercover humane investigations to be banned in Minnesota?

April 7, 2011- Two bills have been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature that would make it a crime to videotape and to show footage shot inside puppy and kitten mills and factory farms.

Senate File 1118 and House File 1369 would criminalize blowing the whistle on animal cruelty, food safety problems, or labor abuses inside puppy and kitten mills or factory farms by making it a crime to take video inside such facilities, or even for the news media to possess or distribute these images. Read the bills here.

Please take action to oppose these bills today.

While purporting to be targeted at actual interference or damage to farming operations, SF 1118/HF 1369 are worded so broadly that they criminalize videotaping or audio recording of activities inside ‘animal facilities’. An ‘animal facility’ includes farming operations, research facilities, veterinary offices, pounds or shelters, pet stores, and commercial kennels. These bills prohibit ‘animal facility tampering’ (which is already prohibited by state and federal law), ‘animal facility interference’ (defined, in part, as video or audio taping inside a facility without the owner’s consent, and possessing or distributing such videos), and ‘animal facility fraud’ (using false pretenses to gain employment at a facility). Some of the provisions in the bills, such as theft, trespass, and fraud are already crimes under existing law. In addition, the chilling effect  this proposed legislation will have, if passed, is detrimental to the public interest in knowing about abuses of animals and consumer product safety violations. The bills also define all equine species, including horses, ponies, mules, jennys, donkeys, and hinnies, as ‘agricultural animals’. Once defined as such, they may not receive the greater protections afforded to ‘companion animals’ under Minnesota’s cruelty statutes.

The bills prohibit usage of one of the most important tools the humane movement has to reduce and prevent animal suffering- undercover investigations that expose animal cruelty and inhumane conditions and practices that go on behind closed doors in Minnesota.

If these bills pass into law, taking undercover footage in Minnesota’s puppy mills, like that captured at Kathy Bauck’s facility by Companion Animal Protection Society, would be a criminal offense, as would taking undercover footage at Minnesota’s slaughter and factory farming facilities, like that taken by the Humane Society of the United States at the Willmar poultry processing facility. Both such videos revealed shockingly inhumane conditions and practices, and in the case of Bauck, led to her conviction for animal torture.  Similar legislation has been introduced in Iowa and Florida, following undercover investigations that revealed inhumane conditions and animal suffering there.

Undercover investigations protect the public

The public has an interest in knowing about consumer product safety violations. In states around the country, undercover investigations at farming and slaughter operations have revealed animal husbandry practices and conditions that threaten the safety of the food supply. In California, an undercover investigation there led to the the nation’s largest beef recall in history. In Iowa, where there have been several large egg recalls recently, overcrowded conditions documented by undercover investigators at egg production facilities revealed the risk to the public of egg-borne Salmonella infection.

Who is supporting these bills?

The chief authors of these bills, Representative Rod Hamilton (R, 22B), and Senator Doug Magnus (R, 22) are the Chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, respectively. As Chairs, Hamilton and Magnus have authority to choose which bills they will grant a hearing, and enjoy tremendous influence when it comes to deciding which bills will pass. In the House, the following Representatives have signed on their support: Cornish ; Davids ; Urdahl ; Dettmer ; Anderson, P. ; Drazkowski. In the Senate, the following Senators have signed on to support the bill: Rosen ; Skoe ; Ingebrigtsen ; Sparks.

What are they trying to hide?

The free flow of information and ideas is essential to a free society. Stifling awareness and discussion does not make the problems of an unsafe food supply or of animal cruelty and suffering go away. Legislators should focus on enacting animal welfare reforms, not on hiding what is occurring behind closed doors.

Bills aiming to lessen abuses at Minnesota’s commercial dog and cat breeding facilities have languished for years- currently, unlike most states in the country, there are no state laws regulating this industry in Minnesota.  Yet, instead of taking serious steps to address puppy and kitten mill cruelty, some lawmakers are choosing to shield commercial dog and cat breeders from public scrutiny. Minnesota legislators who do not support the Commercial Dog and Cat Breeder Bill insist the humane community use ‘exiting laws’ to regulate the dog and cat breeding industry. How is it possible to use ‘existing law’, which requires finding and documenting inhumane conditions at puppy and kitten mills, if it is made a criminal offense to do an undercover investigation and publish the results?

Responsible agriculture producers should welcome transparency regarding their animal welfare and food safety practices. Agriculture producers are ultimately responsible to the millions of consumers who buy their food, and they should not try to quell public discussion and discourse on these practices.

Please take action today

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April 12, 2011 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Pets, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act

Seventy percent of antibiotics in the United States go to healthy animals at factory farms. This indiscriminate use creates virulent “super bugs” — bacteria that are resistant to commonly used drugs and dangerous to human and animal health.

Congress is considering a bill that would stop the worst drug abuse on farms. Tell Congress to support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act »

Super bugs travel from the animals to farm workers and consumers. University of Iowa found that three-fourths of hogs in Iowa and western Illinois and two-thirds of the workers who handled them contracted antibiotic-resistant MRSA, a potentially fatal infection.

The agricultural industry maintains they need antibiotics to help livestock grow to market weight. But this antibiotic abuse leads to the deaths of 70,000 Americans every year from drug-resistant infections. It’s time to put health first.

Demand Congress protect humans and animals by passing this life-saving legislation »

Thanks for taking action!
Emily V.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team
Stop Antibiotic Abuse on Factory Farms
Protect antibiotics for medical treatment. Stop factory farm drug abuse!
Take Action!
Take action link: http://www.care2.com/go/z/e/AFUcq/zkmi/bhPGC

Posted:  Just One More Pet – Cross-Posted:  True Health Is True Wealth

March 8, 2010 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Just One More Pet, Political Change | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Animal Welfare: Oprah focuses on California’s Proposition 2

 “I believe how we treat the least of beings among us determines our own humanity!”  …Oprah said in opening remarks on her show about the treatment of farm animals

 

The Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday shined a spotlight and her support on Proposition 2, the California ballot initiative that will determine how animals are raised. 

Reporter Lisa Ling visited both free-range farms and “factory” farms to show viewers the differences in how animals are raised. On the set of the program, Oprah stood next to replicas of cages and crates to show the size of some animals’ quarters in large-scale farm operations. Those who support California’s Proposition 2 say these animals have a right to more space during their lives. Opponents claim the new law would drive up costs, put farmers out of business and end the egg industry in California, and deny consumers the right to choose less-expensive food. 

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, told Oprah’s audience that he supports Proposition 2. “This is just about basic decency,” he said. “It’s about, if animals are going to be raised for food – and that’s certainly the case in this country – then the least we can do for them is allow them to move. I mean, what’s more basic that allowing animals with legs and wings to move around and treating them in a humane way? Californians do the right thing and vote ‘Yes’ on Prop 2.”

The show, however, was not one-sided. Opponents of Proposition 2 also had their say. Ryan Armstrong, a third-generation egg farmer from California, told the audience that if Proposition 2 passes, it will make eggs produced in California too expensive for most consumers, creating the possibility that eggs will be imported from places without these animal housing laws.  (However, in several other states the changes are already being made). 

A couple that now raises range-free veal calves successfully, says that in the long run, it is actually cheaper and less labor intensive to allow them to live freely, with their mothers. 

Another farmer who raises range free pigs and chickens says that food is all about energy, and the energy emitted from abused animals affects all of us who eat that meat in a negative way. 

Listen to AgriTalk’s interview with Illinois Farm Bureau President Phil Nelson, who invited Winfrey to travel outside of Chicago and visit a farm in downstate Illinois.

Listen to AgriTalk’s interview with Matt Kellogg, a hog farmer from Yorkville, Illinois who was featured on the program and talked about the experience.

Source: Drovers

October 17, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t let them get away with this… Yes on California Prop 2

They treat animals like units of production. They overcrowd them and put our food supply at risk. They pollute the land and water.

“They” are Big Agribusiness, and they have raised and allocated $10 million to defeat a landmark initiative in California that would ease the suffering of millions of animals now confined in tiny crates on factory farms and suffering terribly. It’s called Proposition 2, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof called it “the most important election you’ve never heard of.” Indeed, because California is a trendsetter, this election has the potential to establish a better future for farm animals across the U.S.

Because of that, Big Agribusiness is investing millions in deceptive and false ads to disparage Prop 2.

The only thing that can stop them is you and me. We can match them ad for ad and tell our story to the people of California.

That’s why I am urging you to make a special gift today to the YES! on Prop 2 campaign.

If not you and me, then who will stand up to Big Agribusiness?

Just who are these underhanded foes of animals, who on a single day donated nearly $5 million to defeat Proposition 2? They’re Pilgrim’s Pride, chipping in $25,000, where a whistle-blower employee videotaped chickens being stomped and thrown against the wall. They are the United Egg Producers, adding $185,000 to the opposition’s pot, fined to settle false advertising complaints. They are Moark LLC, donating more than $504,000 against Prop 2, which paid $100,000 to settle criminal animal cruelty charges. They are Cal-Maine Foods, leading the pack with nearly $600,000 in campaign contributions, cited for spilling chicken parts and manure into waterways and killing tens of thousands of fish. The list goes on…

These are not the kind of farms we read about to our kids before bedtime. This line-up is straight off the crime blotter. Cruelty to animals. Threatening the safety of the food supply. Despoiling the environment. And deceiving consumers.

We need to raise $1 million by the end of the month as part of our offensive to counter their deception and dirty campaign tactics.

Please make an emergency gift right now to put television ads on the air to challenge every one of their claims. If just 5 percent of you who read this message make a gift of $20 — a symbolic amount to reduce the suffering of 20 million farm animals — we’d reach our $1 million goal today.

Without your help, we will not be able to counter the deceptive claims of an industry that insists on cramming animals into insufferably small cages and crates — to increase density, and thus profits.

The claims made by these companies reveal them for the shameless hucksters they are. Here is their wildly false assertion about Prop 2 straight from their published propaganda:

Undermines animal welfare and food safety in California.

Ha! Remember what the California factory farmers were doing recently for “animal welfare” and “food safety”? They were patting themselves on the back and accepting performance awards for providing healthy food to the National School Lunch Program. Then one of our undercover investigators went into a Southern California slaughter plant. He secretly filmed the torturing of animals — horrors like a fallen cow being smashed in the eyes with a blunt object and another downed cow with a water-hose shoved in her mouth to simulate drowning. He showed plant operators routinely risking the health of children to get these potentially ill “downer” cows on their feet so they could be herded into the processing line for the lunch program.

The industry tried to deny that any such things could happen. But videotape evidence exposed their deceptions and false assurances. The result? The largest meat recall in U.S. history.

The nation was horrified by the abuse of these cows, who were literally minutes away from being killed. If we are concerned about the downer cows — as we should be — then we must also be concerned about the animals suffering in cruel confinement day after day for months or years on factory farms. Here is this remarkable one-time chance to do something about their suffering.

For the sake of creatures who don’t have a voice in this watershed election, please join us in speaking out for them.

Make your emergency donation to the YES! on Prop 2 campaign today.


Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States
 

September 20, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Political Change, Stop Animal Cruelty | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment