VIDEO: Emails Show Dairy Industry Crafted 'Ag-Gag' Law Forbidding Pictures of Farms
Emails obtained by investigative journalist Lee Fang show that language in legislation that outlawed the recording of animal abuse on factory farms in Idaho originated almost wholly with dairy industry lobbyists.
Fang writes at The Intercept:
State Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, said he sponsored the bill in response to an activist-filmed undercover video that showed cows at an Idaho plant being beaten by workers, dragged by the neck with chains, and forced to live in pens covered in feces, which activists said made the cows slip, fall and injure themselves. The facility, Bettencourt Dairies, is a major supplier for Burger King and Kraft. The workers who were filmed were fired.
Introducing the bill, Patrick compared the activists behind the Bettencourt video to marauding invaders who burned crops to starve their enemies. “This is clear back in the sixth century B.C.,” Patrick said, according to Al Jazeera America. “This is the way you combat your enemies.”
Idaho is a major center for dairy production, an industry that generates $2.5 billion a year in the state.
Patrick’s bill was introduced on February 10, 2014, sailed through committee within days, and was signed by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter on February 28. The legislation calls for a year in jail and fines up to $5,000 for covertly recording abuses on farms or for those who lie on employment applications about ties to animal rights groups or news organizations.
Warning: The video that prompted the legislation is viewable below. It is highly disturbing.
— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.