Idaho’s dairy industry is pushing legislation that would make it a crime to document animal cruelty occurring on farms “agricultural operations” within the state. Under Bill SB 1337, any person caught taking photographs, video or audio recordings of animal farming practices could end up in jail for a year and face a $5,000 fine.
The ag gag bill is in response to an undercover investigation conducted by Mercy for Animals at Bettencourt Dairies back in 2012. Undercover footage showed workers beating and shocking cows and resulted in animal cruelty charges being filed against three employees. Since the footage aired on national television, the Idaho Dairymen’s Association has been trying to pass the bill.
Idaho Senator Jim Patrick, the bill’s sponsor, told ABC News the bill is intended to protect farmers’ private property and to ensure they are not being “set up” by animal rights advocates.
On the contrary, the only “set up” is the dairy industry trying to get support from the government to keep rampant animal abuse from being exposed, while protecting profits. Ag gag bills do nothing to protect the animals being abused and they criminalize the actions of the whistleblower. The bloody truth the dairy industry (and meat and egg industries) have so desperately tried to hide is finally being told and the public is listening.
To put a stop to this dangerous legislation, please call Idaho’s Governor Otter today at (208) 334-2100 and tell him to reject this shameful bill. There’s also a petition against the bill on Change.org.