Indiana: Stop Trying to Criminalize Whistleblowers

It's only the very beginning of the new year, but Indiana is already working on an ag-gag bill (SB 101) targeting those who seek to expose animal abuse and illegal activity on farms.  

This bill will increase the penalty for exposing abuses if a farm operator suffers any monetary losses and some believe it is even more dangerous than the state's previous attempt because it allows farm operators to post signs prohibiting specific actions and makes it a felony to do anything that farmers have prohibited. In short, it will allow farmers, not law enforcement, to determine what constitutes a crime.

Agribusinesses should not be shielded from any accountability, while those who bring cruelty and inhumane treatment to light and allow consumers to make informed choices are punished. In addition to allowing the  horrors that farm animals endure to go on in secrecy, ag gag bills also threaten food safety, workers' rights and free speech.  

Undercover investigations have led to changes in laws, convictions for cruelty and have opened the public’s eyes to what we might not otherwise know about. Without them our ability to make informed decisions or generate a dialogue about what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to animal agriculture is stripped away.

Numerous attempts were made in 2013 to pass this type of legislation, including Indiana's SB 373, and they all failed for good reason.

Please sign the petition urging Indiana's lawmakers to support transparency in agriculture and stop attempting to pass whistleblower suppression legislation.

As someone who is concerned with animal welfare, consumer safety and constitutional rights, I am writing to urge you not to pass SB 101, or any law that would hinder the actions of those exposing abuse and illegal activity on farms.

Numerous undercover investigations have brought to light the horrors animals in agriculture face, both legal and illegal, in addition to raising awareness about food safety issues that consumers have every right to know about.

These investigations have also led to changes in laws, convictions for cruelty and have opened the public’s eyes to what we might not otherwise know about. Without them our ability to make informed decisions or generate a dialogue about what is and isn’t acceptable when it comes to animal agriculture is stripped away.

Agribusinesses should not be shielded from any accountability, while those who bring cruelty and inhumane treatment to light and allow consumers to make informed choices are punished. Agribusinesses should also not be allowed to determine what constitutes a felony, which is a provision in this bill.

Numerous attempts were made in 2013 to pass this type of legislation, including Indiana's SB 373, and they all failed for good reason. The state of Indiana should not consider protecting an industry that has something to hide at the expense of animal welfare, its residents, consumer safety and the First Amendment.

I sincerely hope you will support transparency in agriculture and stop attempting to pass whistleblower suppression legislation.

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