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Ag Gag Bill Dies A Welcome Death in Florida

keep out 325Legislators in Florida have thrown out proposals to introduce a new law which would have made it illegal to take unapproved videos or photographs of industrial farm animal production in the state.

The “Ag Gag” bill, which was openly backed by the industrial farming lobby, was promoted on the basis that it would help to improve animal welfare or protect family farms. But the stark reality is that this proposed law has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare and was nothing more than Big Ag protecting its interests again, stealthily promoting legislation that would effectively make it a felony to attempt to expose the horrific practices that are going on behind the doors of industrial farms.

What is going on at these farms that is so appalling that Big Ag is willing to use the power of the law to prevent people from seeing it? Well, the recent undercover video taken at the E6 Cattle Company is just the latest in a long line of horrific videos and photographs that expose the systemic welfare abuses that go right to the very heart of the industrial livestock farming system.
E6 Cattle Company raises tens of thousands of calves each year for use on dairy farms. In this latest video, E6 Cattle Co. workers are shown bludgeoning calves with pickaxes and hammers numerous times before the animals are rendered unconscious, as well as kicking downer calves in the head and standing on their necks and ribs. The abuse at E6 Cattle Co. is without a doubt some of the worst that I have seen. Yet if the proposed Ag Gag legislation ever became law then none of us would have been informed of this atrocity.

And that’s just the way that the billion dollar industrial farming industry wants to keep it. The only farming images that they want you to associate their shadowy businesses with are the bucolic picket-fenced scenes you’ll find on their food packaging and in their advertising promotions.

At a time when more people are becoming aware of the devastating impact that industrialized farming is having on our health, the health of animals, and the health of our planet, it’s no coincidence that Big Ag and its political friends are campaigning for secrecy legislation to prevent people from seeing what goes on at industrial farms. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to recognize the real purpose of this Ag Gag legislation. It’s a shocking abuse of power and the politicians involved should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

In the land of the free, we have the right to know how our food is produced and what we are feeding our families. Yet the truth is that our food industry is now controlled by a handful of immensely powerful and secretive corporations that are only too willing to put shareholder profits ahead of our health, the livelihood of American farmers and workers, and our environment. They don’t want you to know what goes on behind their locked gates and barbed wire fences because the chances are that if you knew, you wouldn’t want to touch your food – let alone eat it.

Let me make one thing clear: At Animal Welfare Approved, we don’t have a vegetarian or vegan agenda. Our sole purpose is to promote high-welfare farming and we believe that farmed animals have a vital role to play in sustainable farming systems. Our standards have been rated “most stringent” by the World Society for the Protection of Animals and our independent on-farm auditing system ensures that our farmers follow the standards to the letter. When you see the Animal Welfare Approved logo, you can be confident that the food really was produced to the highest welfare standards possible. Our farmers have nothing to hide: They are proud of their farms and of what they do, and many welcome visitors on a regular basis.

Proposals to introduce Ag Gag legislation are still underway in Iowa and Minnesota. Let’s hope that the lawmakers there also see sense and throw out this shameful abuse of the U.S. legal system.

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