Target: Senator Paul Hornback, chair of the Kentucky Senate Agricultural Committee
Goal: Stop ban on documentation of animal rights abuses in factory farms
Kentucky State Representative Joni Jenkins sponsored a bill in January called House Bill 222, with the intent to set strict standards for the use of euthanasia in animal shelters. Unfortunately, when the bill entered committee in the State Senate, things went awry. Language was added to the bill that would restrict or even ban animal rights advocates from entering farms and slaughterhouses to record animal abuse.
Such legislation bans the use of hidden cameras to film abuses carried out on factory farms, and is a direct attack on animal rights organizations trying to stop and prevent animal rights violations. Bills including language like this are often referred to as “ag-gag bills.” The addition of such a provision comes on the heels of many alleged instances of animal cruelty on Kentucky family farms, many reported here on ForceChange. Call on the Kentucky Senate to remove the “ag-gag” provision of the bill, and restore this important piece of legislation to Representative Jenkin’s original intention of helping animals. Senator Paul Hornback, who leads the Kentucky Senate Agricultural Committee, has the power to remove all “ag-gag” language in this bill; call on him to do so today.
The ability of animal rights groups to investigate factory farming operations and slaughter houses is crucial to preventing animal abuse. In the last few years, undercover operations have exposed animal cruelty in Kentucky and many other states time and time again. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals pointed out in a recent statement that while it is deplorable that big agribusiness is edging its way into legislation at all, it is especially tragic in the case of House Bill 222, which was originally meant to protect animals. The Kentucky Farm Bureau, a lobbyist group that represents not only small family farms but also large factory farm operations, unsurprisingly supports the bill.
Luckily, there are many legislative obstacles the bill has yet to overcome before it can become a law, and there is plenty of time for revision. As it stands, the bill’s original author Rep. Jenkins says she cannot support her own bill, calling the new language “possibly unconstitutional,” and “disturbing.” Urge the leader of the Kentucky Senate Agricultural Committee, Paul Hornback to stand up to big agribusiness and factory farms and to restore House Bill 222 to its original intent and purpose.
Dear Senator Paul Hornback,
Animal abuse is rampant on factory farms in many states, including Kentucky. In order to expose such animal cruelty, it is vital that animal rights groups be able to investigate abuses without fear of retribution. Representative Joni Jenkins, the author of House Bill 222 did not intend for her bill to contribute to animal cruelty, but rather to protect them from unnecessary or painful euthanasia in shelters.
I am writing to you today to urge you to remove the “ag-gag” provision of House Bill 222. It is an unnecessary clause and possibly goes against the state constitution of Kentucky. Please remove this language today.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Human Society of the United States via wikimedia commons