‘Ag gag’ masks abuse

Keywords Opinion

Indiana’s “ag gag” law was put to rest in the last hours of the 2013 legislative session, but this month on the first day of the new session was introduced again.

The laws make it a criminal offense to take a photo or video without permission at an agricultural operation such as a slaughterhouse, factory farm or even a puppy mill.

Proponents claim undercover video or photos showing abuse or cruelty are put in the public domain and cause harm to their business.

Opponents say these laws are unconstitutional, that there are already laws in place to address trespass, and most importantly without video or photos to document abuse and cruelty to farm animals there is no other way for these abuses to be exposed.

In the committee hearing, questions by Sen. Mark Stoops to a spokesperson for several agriculture industries really cut to the chase by asking if the real concern was that if people saw video of how their food is being produced “… chickens getting their beaks cut off without anesthetic or chickens if they are male thrown in a grinder, pigs getting tails cut off or their genitals cut off, all stuff that is legal… people may not buy that food?”

So now, in 2014, it is time to take off the blinders that the public has on regarding how meat gets to their table and have a real and truthful discussion on these accepted industry practices, the everyday cruelties farm animals endure.

What really scares the agricultural industry and is at the heart of these ag gag laws are the everyday hidden “accepted industry practices” that these videos and photos uncover and cause every compassionate individual to forever question their eating habits.

Should all male chicks a few days old be killed in a grinder or suffocated in an industrial size bag because they were born male and are of no use?

Do we accept that piglets have their teeth clipped with pliers, tales cut off and are castrated—all without pain medicine? And is it acceptable for pigs to live their lives in crates so small they cannot even turn around?

These accepted industry practices are the real cruelty and abuses that the agriculture industries don’t want exposed, and under the cover of ag gag laws are trying to hide. Its 2014 and time we have an honest discussion.


Tonja Robertson

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