Target: Senator Paul Hornback, Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee Chair
Goal: Pass an animal rights bill that does not would criminalize attempts to expose animal cruelty at farms and slaughterhouses
Filming or photographing without a farmer’s consent would be criminalized under a bill recently sent to the Kentucky Senate. After the state House of Representatives passed the popular bill that was designed to set euthanasia standards for shelter animals, the Senate Agriculture Committee added complicated, and possibly unconstitutional, language. The Committee’s Chair, Senator Paul Hornback, led the efforts. Let him know that you deplore their plan to turn an animal rights bill into a law that would hamper the efforts of activists working to expose animal cruelty.
The proposed law would make it illegal to interfere with agricultural operations by obtaining access to an operation through misrepresentation or filming hidden camera footage of farm operations. Unlike legislation passed in Iowa, Utah, and Ohio, where bills were debated and enacted on their own, in Kentucky the filming provision was attached to an existing popular bill without any public debate. Just one month earlier, Humane Society whistleblowers exposed animal abuse at a western Kentucky pig farm.
Known as “ag gag” legislation, its purpose is to prevent transparency at farms and slaughterhouses. Animal activists and lobbyists for the agriculture industry are battling each other in states across the nation, and activist organizations rely on hidden cameras to expose animal cruelty.
Condemn Senator Hornback for leading the effort to turn an animal rights bill into one that actually helps facilitate animal cruelty.
Dear Senator Hornback,
I have recently learned about the Kentucky Agriculture Committee’s attempt to add language to an existing bill that would set euthanasia standards for shelter animals. Ironically, the Kentucky Senate is trying to transform a popular animal rights bill into one that would help facilitate animal cruelty.
According to Rep. Joni Jenkins, who originally introduced the bill to the state House of Representatives, it was an attempt to raise the state’s dismal reputation for animal welfare. The Senate Agriculture Committee’s actions have demonstrated why her public relations campaign was so badly needed in the first place.
Your provision that would make it illegal to interfere with agricultural operations by obtaining access to an operation through misrepresentation or filming hidden camera footage of farm operations may be unconstitutional. The Senate has swiftly added the language into the bill without any public debate.
As the Agriculture Committee’s Chair, you have overseen this process. I urge you to remove the new language from the animal rights bill.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Federal Emergency Management Agency via Wikimedia Commons