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National animal advocacy groups and concerned citizens are taking up the fight to stop an ag gag bill that would criminalize whistleblowers exposing animal cruelty on farms in Idaho.
The bill, SB 1337, is being pushed as an “agricultural security measure” and its moving quickly through the legislature with support from the Idaho Dairymen's Association and other agricultural producers. It's already been sent to the Senate for a vote by the Agricultural Affairs Committee.
Opponents are arguing that this is a heavy handed response to an undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals that exposed horrific cruelty at Bettencourt Dairy in 2012, which resulted in the arrest of a manager and two workers who were charged with animal cruelty and a change in policy regarding the cruel practice of tail docking from Kraft Foods.
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.
Numerous attempts were made in 2013 to pass this type of legislation and they all failed for good reason.
Please sign the petition urging Idaho'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 1337, or any law that would hinder the actions of those exposing animal 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, including an investigation conducted by Mercy for Animals that exposed sickening cruelty to cows at Bettencourt Dairy in 2012.
These 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.
I sincerely hope you will stand against whistleblower suppression legislation and instead support transparency in agriculture.