I found an interesting opinion piece by Baylen Linnekin on the website Reason.com concerning the topic of undercover video on factory farms. (I know very little about this website and did not take the time to find out more about its leanings.)
The editorial seems balanced, noting the conflict between property rights and privacy on one side and the need to expose abuse – for the benefit of human health and animal welfare – on the other side.
The Central Valley Meat slaughterhouse case and recent release of an undercover video has prompted more discussion on this issue. The plant was shut down but is back open, just days later.
Several states are outlawing undercover video by animal-welfare groups. I understand the arguments concerning privacy, but these laws are clearly more about throwing up an iron curtain to hide acts of extreme animal cruelty and to hide practices the offenders don’t want consumers to see, in terms of food safety and animal welfare.
Linnekin correctly wraps up her editorial with this – “” Ag gag laws, which stifle this flow of information, protect a particular category of business while offering no public benefit, and impose a prior restraint on speech, are wrong at their very core. “”
Sadly, if the USDA was doing it’s job, it would be engaged in trying to uncover these horrors. The animal-welfare groups shouldn’t have to be the ones who are going in to uncover the terrible things going on behind the closed doors on factory farms. The USDA should be protecting the animals and us.
But again, it seems a federal agency and some state governments are protecting corporations over people. Why? – Because the corporations have bought their way into running the federal and state legislatures – within the ranks of Republicans and Democrats.
I’m all for capitalism, but not in the form of a system where the government is run by the corporations, which has been the trend for decades now. It’s not true in all cases or on all issues, but on the gauge where the public good is on one side and corporations are on the other, we’ve lost the balance and the needle is way over the corporate end.