Don’t Sweep Farm Animal Cruelty Under the Rug

Abused Horse - Animals Abused and Abandoned - Flickr

Target: Arizona State Representative Brenda Barton

Goal: Keep the investigation of farm animal cruelty a responsibility of the police

A new bill introduced in the Arizona Legislature would move investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty accusations on farms away from the Arizona Police Department and into the Arizona Department of Agriculture. In addition, any evidence of the cruelty must be given to the Department of Agriculture within 5 days of being obtained, a nearly impossible timeline to comply with. Tell the Arizona State Legislature that cruelty to farm animals is a criminal offense and should be handled by the police department, just like all other types of animal cruelty.

Under the new law, only the Director, or a designee assigned by the Director, of the Department of Agriculture has the authority to investigate animal cruelty allegations on farms in Arizona. In addition, no local county, city, or town in Arizona is allowed to pass any laws or ordinances that would be stricter than the state law.  This effectively moves cruelty to farm animals out of the criminal justice system and into the political arena. The Department of Agriculture does not have the investigators to handle the cases and is likely to ignore farm animal cruelty when it is politically expedient.

Cruelty to farm animals, like to all other kinds of animals, is a criminal offense and should be handled by the Arizona Police Department and the criminal justice system, not by politicians. Tell Representative Brenda Barton, the bill’s sponsor, that animal cruelty investigations belong in the hands of the police department.


Dear Mrs. Barton,

Cruelty to farm animals is a criminal offense and, just like allegations of cruelty to any other animal, should be handled by the Arizona police department and the criminal justice system. Yet a new bill (HB 2587) would move all investigation of cruelty to farm animals away from the police department and into the Department of Agriculture, a branch that has neither the necessary staff nor experience to handle a criminal investigation.

The Department of Agriculture’s mission is “To regulate and support Arizona agriculture in a manner that encourages farming, ranching, and agribusiness while protecting consumers and natural resources”.  Their mission does not include law enforcement and doesn’t even mention protecting animals from cruelty. In fact, enforcing animal cruelty law could run contrary to their mission to encourage farming, ranching and agribusiness.

In addition, the bill requires that all evidence of cruelty and abuse be submitted to the Department of Agriculture within 5 days of being obtained. This is an arbitrarily short timeline that seems designed only to make reporting animal abuse harder.

Mrs. Barton, the investigation and prosecution of farm animal cruelty cases belongs within the criminal justice system, not at the whim of a political organization without the means, mission, or desire to protect animals. I demand all language that changes investigation practices of farm animal cruelty and the evidence requirements be removed from this bill.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Animals Abandoned and Abused via Flickr

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  1. All animals human and non human deserve to be treated with respect, a lot of farm animals die a horrible death so humans can consume them, at least have some compassion for them while they are alive.

  2. If you have animals you should take a good care of them,why are you very cruel against them?if you don’t like them don’t own .please save Horses ,Dogs ,Cats
    All God Creatures.

  3. Sheila Jefferson says:

    PLEASE keep the investigation of farm animal cruelty a responsibility of the police!!!!
    We are accountable for how we treat and
    MISTREAT animals!

  4. Some stupid humans will never change… You just have to live with it… Animal abusers are everywhere. We must be strong for the animals.

  5. deb spanhake says:

    abuse murder neglect should be all ‘s concern and not given the blind eye they depend on man for their welfare and this is how we treat them without respect attention to their welfare and needs what else will man ignore and abolish for no good reason other than man to be a cruel race

  6. This is insane! This just protects those that abuse and kill animals and it must be stopped and stopped NOW!

  7. The farmers of America who perpetrate this disgusting treatment of their animals and allow their employees to do likewise are a BLOODY DISGRACE TO AGRICULTURE, they have no excuse and cannot plead ignorance of what has been happening on their farms, and if that is the case then they must leave Agriculture to people that care, money should not be used to buy silence and favours from political representatives, who pass deliberate gag laws so that the public will not know of the frightful abuses that are taking place on these farms.

  8. oh how lovely would it be for there to be no new petitions to sign, or see that all the things we sign do actually make a difference, I just wish all the vile evil hateful cruel people would just get wiped out,

  9. The Department of Agriculture does not have the man power to investigate all the farm animal abuse. Futhermore, they can not arrest as the police can. The police are familiar with the investigation of animal abuse on farms. The Department of Agriculture cannot keep up with the bears, marine animals and apes etc. as it is. Rampant abuse of these animals goes on for years and years and years and years and still the Department of Agriculture details just some of their deficits in the care of these animals, writes reports and very, very, very rarely do they impose minimal fines on their handlers and the Department of Agriculture keeps renewing the handlers licenses to keep these animals with no improvement of the animals conditions.
    We need increased laws for punishment of factory farm animal abusers, for the police to help enforce. The factory farm abusers do not deserve to have their acts not detected and not prosecuted. If the Department of Agriculture takes this over, they do not have the manpower, would have to hire investigators to specialize in this at a huge expense to taxpayers. And we do NOT need to increase the governments expenditures and spending. That is if they intend to actually take this job seriously and this is not a political move paid for by the factory farmers.
    The police are already versed in the arresting of animal abusers on farms and elsewhere and would not have to incur additional funds to support the activity. That is unless they want to attempt to increase surveillance because they realize that factory farm abuse is rampant and it becomes a major goal to rectify it. Even so the local policeman/woman would not need the funds from taxpayers as much and are more skilled to perform the job needed.
    Please don’t let the Department of Agriculture take this on and it end up sweeping the punishment of abusers under the carpet through the lack of manpower, etc..

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