The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 26, 2013: ALEC and the Ag Gag Bills

We Americans have an amazing ability, bordering on out-and-out hypocrisy, to turn a blind eye toward unpleasant subjects. Nowhere does this talent demonstrate itself more than in the area of how our food is produced. They say that Politics is like sausage-making – you don’t want to see how either one is done. But it’s not just sausages, it’s also the bacon, pork chops & ham, the eggs, wings & thighs, or the milk, butter and cheese. Animal cruelty in the farm business has been a well-documented scourge on our food supply, but thanks to legislation sponsored by ALEC (the very pro-business, conservative American Legislative Exchange Council; ALEC describes themselves as “non-partisan,” but that doesn’t mean they’re non-ideological), documented cases of animal abuse on farms will be a thing of the past. Because it will be illegal to document such abuse.

According to a report published by GlobalPossibilities.org and Alternet.org, three state legislatures are considering bills to consider any attempt “to investigate animal cruelty, food safety or environmental violations on the corporate-controlled farms that produce the bulk of our meat, eggs and dairy products” as an “act of terrorism.” Now known as “Ag Gag” laws, they were passed in the early 90s in Kansas, Montana, and North Dakota before the term was coined. In the past two years they were joined by Iowa, Missouri, and Utah, and now Nebraska, New Hampshire and Wyoming taking up the issue. (There is hope. Similar legislation failed to pass in seven states: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York and Tennessee.

Ag-Gag laws passed 20 years ago were focused more on deterring people from destroying property, or from either stealing animals or setting them free. Today’s ALEC-inspired bills take direct aim at anyone who tries to expose horrific acts of animal cruelty, dangerous animal-handling practices that might lead to food safety issues, or blatant disregard for environmental laws designed to protect waterways from animal waste runoff. In the past, most of those exposes have resulted from undercover investigations of exactly the type Big Ag wants to make illegal.

One bill would make it a crime to fail to report documented animal abuse within 24 hours, despite the fact that multiple abuses, needed to document a pattern of abuse, can take weeks to collect. Another bill would make it a crime to get a job with the “intent to disrupt the normal operations,” and would require animal abuse reports to be filed within 12 hours. The third is designed to prevent activists from exposing animal cruelty at corporate-owned farms, and was introduced by a State Representative planning to build horse slaughterhouses in several states.

From the article (the petitions are only for people who live in those states):

It was public outrage that killed proposed bills in seven states last year. Here are the three latest bills to be introduced, and links to petitions telling lawmakers in New Hampshire, Wyoming and Nebraska to reject the proposed laws:

New Hampshire: HB110

Primary sponsor: Bob Haefner (R) ; Co-sponsors: Majority Leader Steve Shurtleff (D), Rep. Tara Sad (D), Senator Sharon Carson (R), and Bob Odell (R)

This is a 7-line bill written to look as if its main concern is the protection of animals. However the bill would require whistleblowers to report animal abuse and turn over videotapes, photographs and documents within 24 hours or face prosecution – a clear attempt to intimidate and deter people from conducting undercover investigations. Lawmakers know that in order for anyone to prove a pattern of abuse in factory farms, they must document repeated instances of cruelty. A video or photograph of only one instance will be dismissed as a one-time anomaly, which will get the agribusiness company off the hook.

If you live in New Hampshire, sign the petition to stop New Hampshire’s Ag-Gag bill.

Wyoming: HB0126

Co-sponsors: Rep. Sue Wallis (R), Sen. Ogden Driskill (R)

Introduced within weeks after nine workers at a Wyoming factory farm were charged with abuse. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sue Wallis, is planning to build horse slaughterhouses in Wyoming and other states. If this bill had been law in 2012, it would have prevented activists from exposing horrific acts of cruelty at Wheatland, WY-based Wyoming Premium Farms, a supplier to Tyson Foods.

If you live in Wyoming, sign the petition to stop Wyoming’s Ag-Gag bill.

Nebraska: LB 204

Introduced by Sen. Tyson Larson (R), Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh (R), and Sen. Ken Schilz (R)

The bill would make it a Class IV felony for any person to obtain employment at an animal facility with the broadly defined “intent to disrupt the normal operations,” It would require animal abuse reports to be filed within 12 hours. Co-sponsor Sen. Launtenbaugh has advocated in the past for horse slaughtering.

If you live in Nebraska, sign the petition to stop Nebraska’s Ag-Gag bill.

This is our daily open thread. Talk about ALEC, animal cruelty, Ag Gag bills or any other topic you choose. And don’t forget to sign the petitions.

98 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 26, 2013: ALEC and the Ag Gag Bills

  1. Where was the NFL when it was time to start electronically measuring the impact of the hits in pro football, and why isn’t helmet design being studied at least as intently as it is for motor racing?

    I wonder if Rush Limbought criticizes Kevin Turner in a similar manner to the way he did Michael J. Fox?

    • I can’t figure out why no one seems to be experimenting with helmets that are padded on the outside as well as the inside. It seems to me that a soft exterior would limit some of the impact compared to two hard shells colliding.

  2. Great post, Wayne. One way to protest this animal abuse is at the supermarket by not purchasing cheap meat products and by avoiding meat and poultry at fast food restaurants. If you can shop at a farmer’s market, asked the sales person where they get their meat and ask about the living conditions of the animals. Yesterday I was at a farmer’s market and I saw pork chops in the display. I asked the vendor about the meat. Do you raise the animals? Is the meat purchased from a factory farm? At the market yesterday, I asked these questions and was told that the pork came from a factory farm. I replied, “Thank you” and then walked away. If we the public demand better meat products, then that is what we will get. Yes, the meat costs more but it is better quality meat and you don’t need to eat big portions to enjoy it.

    I stopped by the fish stand while at the market. There was a fish that looked like blue fish but it wasn’t and I don’t remember the name of the fish. The price was $13.99/lb. A man standing next to me stated that this price was too expensive. I told him that it was just the two of us so I didn’t need to purchase a whole pound. He asked me if my husband was worth it, I smiled and said, “Yes he is and so am I.” The man smiled and went on about his business.

    The reason that I don’t buy chicken at fast foods restaurants is because the chicken most likely came from Tyson foods. Chick-fil-A gets their chicken from Tyson foods.

    • Based on Wayne’s reporting, i predict the next Ag-Gag laws will be to prevent employees from answering those questions.

    • A good farmer loves customers like you Cats. If we are proud of what we do, it can be difficult to get us to stop talking about how we raise our products. Consumers have every right to know where their food comes from and a company that believes in its practices will be eager to talk about them.

      • I buy local whenever possible. I believe that we need to support our local farms otherwise we will lose them and then we will be stuck with crappy food.

        I just watched Real Time with Bill Mahrer. He had Senator John Tester on as a guest. I didn’t realize that Tester was a farmer and that he is a big supporter of family farms and food labeling.

  3. We do NOT dine out anymore, not anywhere. Haven’t for years and have no plans to ever do so again. What we fix at home is a lot more tasty, more healthy, far less costly, and there’s no need to “dress for dinner”. Sotospeak. We’re not quite vegetarians, but are closer than we’ve ever been before, with meat consumption near the bottom of the list based on quantity of any given item. And even then, there’s never beef or pork on the menu anymore, only chicken, turkey, and sometimes fish/seafood. Unfortunately, we have to buy whichever brand of chicken or turkey the store has in the cooler since there’s only one store here. So to not eat very much of it is about the only “statement” available to us.

    Ag-Gag laws passed 20 years ago were focused more on deterring people from destroying property, or from either stealing animals or setting them free

    No need for laws like those, there’s already a Constitutional provision in place to protect the corporate “people”. It was originally written to give slave owners the authority to create and use militias to protect ‘property’ from being ‘set free’. It reads,

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    See? No new laws needed!

    Why is it that all the legislators introducing such stupid legislation seem to be Republicans? I thought Jindal said it was time for the party to quit being stupid — a huge trick I know, but I mean really. Supporting animal cruelty? How fucking STUPID can one get!!? (Answer obvious. Right, Mitt?)

    Meanwhile, there’s the bee problem, the death of bees around the globe. The cause has apparently been uncovered, and it is, as many have long suspected, an agricultural pesticide named “Clothianidin.” I received, in this morning’s email, a description of the problem plus a petition demanding that the EPA ban the use of Clothianidin. I’ve signed it.

  4. I have a cunning plane to trick GOoPers into repealing the 2nd Amendment. We should find a sane lawmaker to propose legislation to repeal the “regulated militia act of 1791”. Merely tell them that said act requires all gun owners belong to a regulated state or federal militia. It would be funny to see how many Reichwhiners jump to get rid of this long-standing but never enforced law.

    On a more serious note; I think it would be interesting if Democratic lawmakers started referring to the 2nd Amendment as the “Well Regulated Militia Amendment”.

  5. I usually get a new laptop for work purposes every 3 years or so. It’s been 4 and a half years and last week I finally ordered a new one. My current laptop is getting slower and slower, even after cleaning it up. I am quite excited about it and very disappointed that it’s not ready today. Probably not until next weekend!

    Oh well, plan B for the day is to go and check out a new kennel for Scout when we go on holidays. Our previous kennel treated two of our friends dogs poorly so we are dumping them. Then later on I get to go see the first edition of this years Battle of Alberta – Flames vs Oilers. I don’t go to many games but my bro has invited me (he gets corporate tickets every now and then).

    • Reads like a very fine ‘consolation’/Plan B day…Go Flames! (when they aren’t playing the Sharks, that is) ;>

      Really like following Scout’s progress – she’s becoming quite the socialite in the canine world – with all her friends at the park. Good luck on finding a suitable kennel!

      • Ebb, this is the place we are checking out. It’s a bit over the top, which means is should be good.

        Scout is a socialite! She does however, know when a dog isn’t interested in playing. A few weeks ago she would just start playing with ever dog. She has figured out the doggy language that says, “Piss Off you little shit!”. Soon I will take my camera with me. I’ve been too busy keeping an eye on her but she is no trouble now. Hopefully I will get some pics to spruce up the blog.

  6. See Bill Maher last night? He had some GOP mouthpiece who took offense when Maher called a GOPer, ” a right-wing Republican.” He said that “right-wing” is name calling. Maher was flabbergasted.

    • Far as I’m concerned, the word “Republican” is ‘name calling.’ My thesaurus would list as synonyms for “Republican” words like asshole, fuckface, dipshit, butthead, halfwit, retard, idiot, shithead, nutcase, zipperhead … well, you know, among many others. And that IS “name calling,” by cracky.

    • We saw. Bill was right. What was he supposed to call them? The right wing uses the word “Liberal” like an epithet, and because we know they suffer so much from projection, do they assume we think of the word “Conservative” as an epithet?

        • We’re just finishing up the televised portion for tonight. TV coverage resumes at 8am. Live in car cams on Speed.com plus Motor Racing Network audio. Alabama Crimson Tide sports announcer Eli Gold is calling the race right now, still doing the job he had when Alabama hired him. Since it’s basketball season, I’m waiting for Eli to tell me which driver is ‘dribbling with his left hand’. That’s a Roberts house joke that goes back many years, to when my dad was alive. Dad never was much on Eli’s basketball play by play. 😀

          Klaus is keeping me guessing. I can’t seem to get him to eat much, but he may be filling up on dry food. He’s enjoying the woodstove for the last several days. It has to go out tomorrow, and I won’t need it again until Thursday.

    • Melanie Snow and her teenage son Madison are the first Mother-Son in a driver team in Daytona 24 Hours history. Melanie has partnered with husband Martin and fellow female racer Andrea Robertson in previous American LeMans Series events. Martin had a 914-6 he ran at Porsche Club events in the 80s that I used to drool over.

      Two hours done.

    • Brian Johnson of ACDC raises money for the Alzheimer’s Association with his race team sponsor Highway To Help campaign. He drove last year but tour date conflicts prevented him driving this year. The name of the team is Fifty Plus Racing.

    • Well, that doesn’t necessarily ban atheists from graduating. A thinking atheist would say to themselves, yeah, right. A died-in-the-wool atheist could make it say Swellp me God, which really has no meaning.

      • When I took my oath to join the Air Force, I simply mouthed the “So help me God” part, in case anyone was watching me. It was 30 years ago this month, and atheism was something you didn’t yet discuss in public. Back then, it might as well have been Satanism for all anyone understood about it.

        • I remember when they asked me what I wanted on my dog tag for religious preference. They really were irritated with the OTH though it was one of the choices.

    • What the hell is the difference? I mean the oath that the AZ GOP take also says to defend the Constitution and they are doing their best to ignore many bits of it!

    • Maybe if someone could offer one single tee-tiny shred of evidence that any god of any type exists anywhere … nah, never happen.

      I haven’t said the Pledge since what, 1954? when Congress added “under God” to it? And I was only 12 yrs old then, but still felt ‘insulted’ to be forced to pay homage to something I was pretty sure even back then was purely imaginary.

      As far as the rest of that “oath”, it might mean something if they’d, say, put George W. Bush in prison for the rest of his life for violating his oath, which he did time after time after time. Until then, nope, sorry, I don’t say oaths. Period. I do swear a lot, however. Does that fucking count? 🙂

    • Here’s an oath I would be happy to swear.

      I swear to speak out against insane nationalism, racism, bigotry, jingoism, and religious bullshit every day of my life. If you want me to swear to uphold your values I will say fuck you up the ass with a red-hot poker. Bitch. Let me repeat that because i know you are too fucking stupid to understand anything but the voices in your head. FUCK YOU UP THE ASS WITH A RED-HOT POKER! BITCH!!!

  7. WTF? I would like it if one of these freaks could provide a single specific example of these terrible things that are happening. Rights? More intact than ever aside from the Patriot act. Freedom? Same. Guns? Thanks in no small part to Harry Reid; no meaningful gun control will ever even receive a vote in the Senate so we will be left with the expanded “gun rights” we had the day before Sandy Hook. All that President Obama’s initiative can accomplish is better enforcement of existing law. Which, ironically, is exactly what most of the Reichwhiners claim they want. So, what the fuck are they “resisting” aside from a black guy in the White House?

    I guess the one thing that makes a teeny, tiny, bit of sense is that they are afraid they can’t pass the expanded background checks that President Obama has called for but even that can’t be implemented without the cooperation of Republican lawmakers and we all know that will never happen. Sigh… I’ve grown weary waiting for just one GOoPer to realize just how insane their party has become and say “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” like they did when they were pushing said Patriot Act. For some reason that will never make sense to me they are unable to make their assessment of stricter gun regulations to the ruin of all.

    http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/winger-astroturfers-declare-2-23-2013-day-r

    • How sick, I wonder, does a country or society have to get before it dies? More and more these days I have the feeling that we may well find out, and in the not very distant future.

      Not too many things make me happy to be an old fart, but that does.

  8. Breaking Gnus:

    In an ironic bit of Karma, a crazed gunman shot up NRA headquarters.

    {….it could happen….}

    /thnark

  9. Can somebody handle the Monday open post for me. I have to leave for America’s Got Talent at 6 tomorrow morning and I don’t know when I’ll be back and I’m already behind on all my work.

  10. And Jane’s suggestion:

    • As cute as any Rattus Characiformes usually is, before they mature. I’ll save you the trouble of looking that up, it’s a Rat/Piranha crossbreed. 😀

    • The ‘intelligence’ is staggering

      He said the gun was unloaded when he checked it earlier in the week and he didn’t know who would have loaded it. Police found another loaded gun on the man’s table and unloaded it, according to the report.

      • If the police had “unloaded it” into the skull of the dealer the collective intelligence of the human race would go up. Seriously. This nut should never be allowed to touch, much less buy or sell, another gun for the rest of his life.

    • Making a Joan Crawford reference – to a young audience – dating himself.
      Perhaps he has Low-T?!

      Somewhat stereotyping, still a bit humorous.

      • I think I will call them “Bitsie”, because she ain’t no Barbie, and “Ken”. They would make excellent dolls for the likes of Bill0 and inSeannity but Maher and Dean don’t play with dolls.

        And the GOoPers have always been over sensitive. Just look at how they wail and screech at the mere mention of discussing new gun laws. And don’t even get me started about how they piss and moan over the mere discussion of taking a single penny away from them as taxes.

    • Do you think the man has learned his lesson not to pick up pipe bombs?
      Now he hasn’t the use of his car until the bomb squad arrives.

      • The bizarre thing is that he found a pipe bomb on Paradise Ridge! I thought there were just overpriced, overlarge homes up there, but it appears there are absent-minded fuckwits up there as well. Derp, where’s that pipe bomb, Jim Bubba?

      • The article seems to be gone now, but the Deputy quoted in the article used to be my neighbor, and he was shot when the lunatic shot up the courthouse a few years ago. Now it’s a pipe bomb. He must be feeling a bit picked on.

        Being my neighbor is just the worst. 😉

  11. QOTD.

    “Libruls” express doubts about unilaterally imposed draconian measures that harm society. Reichwhiners piss and moan and bitch and complain and rail and screech if we “libruls” dare to even raise a question that leads to a discussion that might benefit society.

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