TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Bills seek end to farm animal abuse videos

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Sunday, March 17, 2013, 4:54 p.m.
 

SACRAMENTO — An undercover video that showed California cows struggling to stand as they were prodded to slaughter by forklifts led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history. In Vermont, a video of veal calves skinned alive and tossed like sacks of potatoes ended with the plant's closure and criminal convictions.

In a pushback led by the meat and poultry industries, state legislators across the country are introducing laws making it harder for animal welfare advocates to investigate cruelty and food safety cases.

Some bills make it illegal to take photographs of a farming operation. Others make it a crime for someone such as an animal welfare advocate to lie on an application to get a job.

Bills pending in California, Nebraska and Tennessee require that anyone collecting evidence of abuse turn it over to law enforcement within 24 to 48 hours — which advocates say does not allow enough time to document illegal activity under federal humane handling and food safety laws.

“We believe that folks in the agriculture community and folks from some of the humane organizations share the same concerns about animal cruelty,” said Mike Zimmerman, chief of staff for Assembly Member Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, whose bill was introduced last week. “If there's abuse taking place, there is no sense in letting it continue so you can make a video.”

Patterson's bill, sponsored by the California Cattlemen's Association, would make failing to turn over video of abuse to law enforcement within 48 hours punishable by a fine.

Critics say the bills are an effort to deny consumers the ability to know how their food is produced.

“The meat industry's mantra is always that these are isolated cases, but the purpose of these bills is to prevent any pattern of abuse from being documented,” said Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States, which conducted the California and Vermont investigations.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Pope to visit Philly next year
  2. Annapolis Marine capain could be 1st to perform as part of Blue Angels team
  3. New Jersey siblings split $20M lottery prize
  4. Payday lenders, online gambling outlets unfairly targeted in probe, GOP lawmakers say
  5. Carjacked SUV hits crowd in Philadelphia, killing 3 siblings
  6. Obama wants to end U.S. companies skirting tax laws by merging with overseas entities
  7. Psychiatrist returns fire in hospital shooting; caseworker killed in gunplay
  8. Man told transit police the Boston Marathon bomber ‘was my best friend’
  9. Radar captures mayfly swarm on Mississippi
  10. Medical pot could bring Fla. tax revenue windfall
  11. Helpful weather to aid in Washington wildfire battle
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.