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This month lawmakers in Arizona introduced an ag gag bill that would criminalize whistleblowers who want to expose animal cruelty.
The bill, HB 2587, removes "livestock" from the state's definition of animal, which will weaken protection for them, and includes a five day reporting requirement that will ensure that no patterns of abuse can be established by investigators.
Lawmakers shouldn't be supporting legislation that will shield agribusinesses and animal enterprises from accountability, while simultaneously attempting to punish those who bring cruelty and inhumane treatment to light and allow consumers to make informed choices.
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.
The state of Arizona 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.
Please sign the petition urging Arizona's lawmakers to support transparency in agriculture and stop attempting to pass whistleblower suppression legislation.
As someone who cares about the welfare of animals and consumer safety, I am writing to ask you to oppose HB 2587, which will criminalize the efforts of those who are working to expose animal cruelty.
Not only does this bill weaken protections for livestock, who already receive little to no legal protection, but the five day reporting requirement that's included will also ensure that no patterns of abuse can be established by investigators
Undercover investigations have played an important role in exposing not only egregious abuse and unsanitary living conditions that farm animals are forced to endure, but have also drawn attention to standard industry practices that don’t fit into the mainstream idea of humane treatment of animals and in some cases have resulted in criminal charges and new laws.
I sincerely hope you will not allow this bill to pass in any form and instead support transparency in agriculture.