Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - November 15, 2019 


President Trump asks SCOTUS to block release of his tax returns; use of the death penalty is on the decline across the country; and a push to make nutrition part of the health-care debate.

2020Talks - November 14, 2019 


It's World Diabetes Day, and health care, including the high cost of insulin and other drugs, is a top issue for many voters. Plus, do early states like Iowa and New Hampshire have an outsized role in the nomination process?

Daily Newscasts

Whistle-Blowers Targeted Down on the Farm

PHOTO: Animal cruelty was brought to light at Wyoming Premium Farms in Wheatland, WY, in May of 2012. Undercover exposes might be criminalized if “ag-gag” bills introduced in many states are passed. Courtesy Humane Society of the United States.
PHOTO: Animal cruelty was brought to light at Wyoming Premium Farms in Wheatland, WY, in May of 2012. Undercover exposes might be criminalized if “ag-gag” bills introduced in many states are passed. Courtesy Humane Society of the United States.
June 14, 2013

PHOENIX – Animal cruelty whistle-blowers have shot undercover video exposing illegal or unethical abuse inside factory farms and slaughterhouses across the country.

The meat industry is fighting back by supporting bills in many states that would criminalize the actions of the whistle-blowers.

"You know that your industry has a lot to hide when it wants to make it a crime just for somebody to document what it is that you're doing," says Paul Shapiro, vice president of Farm Animal Protection, Humane Society of the United States

So far no so-called ag-gag legislation has been introduced in Arizona.

Food safety problems have also been exposed in addition to animal abuse. Industry groups say the bills are intended to protect farmers from activists who produce misleading videos, and that legislation of this sort promotes animal care.

Emily Meredith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance says most of the undercover video reports are "illicit, underhanded and manipulative."

"America's farmers are pretty fed up with the tactics that groups like this go to ensure that meat production is stopped in this country," she says.

Duke University law professor Jed Purdy says there's a lot of debate about how – and if – animals should be raised for food, but lack of transparency in the industry doesn't help.

"It's hard to have an intelligent debate on it if we have no clear picture of what's going on in there,” he says. “And, of course, trying to keep those pictures out of public circulation is what these laws are really about."

Paul Shapiro says employers have a legitimate interest in hiring workers who are not plotting to make undercover videos, but some of the proposed laws overreach.

"What the meat industry wants to do is to put questions on job applications that say, for example, 'Are you affiliated with any animal welfare charity?'” he says. “And if you say no, when you really are, they want to not just fire you, they want to put you in jail."

He says no state has passed an ag-gag law so far this year. In Tennessee, the governor vetoed a similar bill after the attorney general called it “constitutionally suspect.”


Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ