It’s gratifying that Florida and Iowa’s bid to ban undercover factory farm investigations is creating a backlash that’s giving the agribusiness exactly the sort of attention it was seeking to avoid. The latest bit of unwanted attention is an op-ed in the Tampa Tribune by HSUS chief Wayne Pacelle. He writes:
Our exposés aren’t just important for raising public awareness about the mistreatment of animals. HSUS investigations have led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history, misdemeanor and felony cruelty convictions, closure of rogue slaughter plants, and disciplinary actions against government inspectors not doing their jobs.
None of these important services we fulfill would be possible if such far-reaching and stifling laws are enacted.
The images of almost featherless hens, so crowded the animals are living on top of each other, or pigs being struck with metal bars by workers coarsened to their duties are deeply disconcerting. The response should not be, as in some country ruled by a dictator or a junta, to have the strongmen grab the cameras and smash them to the ground or melt them in a fire, as the authorities do in order to hide the beating and shooting of pro-democracy advocates. It’s the same principle at work for the strongmen in these state legislatures. Their scheme is a neater way to smash those cameras to the ground and hide what’s going on.
Ironically, they want to prevent their very own customers, America’s consuming public, from learning about the production practices that bring food to their tables and plates.