I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there are several states that have passed “Ag-gag” laws that would make it illegal to film what goes on inside slaughterhouses. This movement was in reaction to the undercover filming of calf abuse over a two-week period at E6 Cattle Company in Texas by an animal advocacy group called Mercy for Animals.
A bill has been introduced in Minnesota that would punish videographers who pose as workers, the Iowa House and Senate have approved a bill that could result in five years in prison for exposing abuses, a bill proposed in Florida would make it a first-degree felony to photograph a farm without written permission from the owner (maximum sentence: 30 years), and Kansas and Montana have passed more general laws against anti-whistleblowers. Read more at Mark Bittman’s column in the Opinion section of the New York Times on April 27, 2011.
This attempt at restriction by the agricultural industry to get bills passed that would limit the public’s ability to see what happens to our food supply seems awfully suspicious. Personally I would like to know that the place I buy meat from would be happy to have their businesses open for inspection. When someone tries to hide, you have to wonder what they are hiding. And when it comes to the food I buy and ingest, I would like to have greater transparency, not less, about the process and production of such food.
The Slow Food Movement, of which I belong, just sent me the following information today and a petition to sign if you are not in favor of the cover-up. I am forwarding the same to you for your consideration.
“Big Ag is pushing legislators in Minnesota, Florida, and Iowa to make taking photos or videos of their facilities illegal. But pictures don’t lie .Bad farming practices are present in our food system, and if that information is kept secret then these unhealthy conditions won’t go away.
Please withdraw the legislation that would make taking pictures or video of farms or food production facilities illegal. Consumers have a right to know and a right to see how their food is produced. Farms that produce good, clean and fair food have nothing to hide.”
Sign the Petition: A well-managed farm has nothing to hide