Can’t we pull back the curtain on the real anti-animal welfare agenda?

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Here we go again – to a ramped-up degree. Those who want to protect puppy mill operations and factory farming are out to pass a Constitutional amendment in Missouri to shut down new measures to protect animals from abuse and neglect.

But the folks backing the amendment are couching it as a movement to defending farming.

No – No – No. We are not within any universe where farming is going to be shut down. Sure – “Dawn of the Planets of the Apes” is going to a popular movie. But is anyone going to walk out of the theater and rush to their elected officials to ask for laws against apes taking over cities?

We can go outer space or we have a reasonable debate about animal welfare. What animal-welfare advocates are asking for is reasonable protections for animals. Those who abuse animals as they are being raised for sale or farming should be shut down.

What is so hard to understand about this? And why can’t some on the other side just be honest? It seems the real goal – from protecting puppy mill operations to criminalizing the acts of recording cruel acts on factory farms with Ag-Gag laws – is to protect the abusers.

It hasn’t been about protecting the traditions of farming and dog breeding. It’s more about hiding the abuses that go on behind the scenes.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Confusing story out of Arizona, concerning proposed animal-cruelty laws

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I’m not quite sure what to make of an article posted March 11 on the Arizona Daily Sun website – under the headline: “Lawmakers create cruelty exceptions for farm animals.”

The story starts out as reporting the state legislature had created special exceptions in regard to acts of animal cruelty, for farmers and ranchers. (Translated – “factory farms.”)

So apparently two provisions were removed, so that factory farms could be protected. But then we read that one of the provisions removed would have stripped the power from police departments to investigate acts of cruelty on the farms. The power would have completely fallen under the Department of Agriculture.

If that provision had remained, police would not have been able to investigate the abuse of the horses, goats and sheep in back yards. But then the article suggests new language was added to allow police to investigate and alert the Department of Agriculture.

But the we read where:

Also gone is a mandate that anyone with a video, photograph or other evidence of cruelty must turn that over to the Department of Agriculture within five days or risk jail time and a fine.

It seems to me allowing police to investigate animal cruelty on farms and removing ag-gag regulations would be opposed by factory farms and would not be considered as exceptions for factory farms.

The one aspect reported from the new bill that does go easy on farmers is one that set a penalty of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine if the act of abuse is inflected on a farm animal. The article notes:

Existing laws make many forms of abuse of any animal, farm or domestic, a felony with potentially two years in state prison and a $150,000 fine.

But then the articles notes the measure might not gain passage unless the concerns of farmers and ranchers are addressed, as if they are not yet getting any special treatment in the bill.

So is it that the farmers and ranchers want complete immunity from charges if they are found to be abusing animals and do they not even like the lesser charges included in the bill, even though the story seems to indicated they are getting exceptions?

Wow. We need some clarification here.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Idaho ag-gag law challenged by ACLU

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The ACLU is rightfully challenging Idaho’s new ag-gag law, recently signed by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

It’s troubling to consider that the response from the Governor and state legislature, to the release of undercover video showing farm animals being abused, was an effort to protect those who are abusing animals.

It is also now against the law in Idaho to capture images of livestock damaging public lands through grazing. So the supporters of this law want to ban the taking of photos or video on public property.

It is unbelievable. Are we Russia or the United States? Do the citizens of Idaho actually want to protect those who abuse animals? Does this state really want us to move back into the 1700s?


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Ag Gag supporters are opening a horrible door, while hiding abusers behind another

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Imagine for a moment that someone hired to work on a home AC system sees a child being abused inside the home and takes a photo of the crime with his phone, to back up his 911 call to law enforcement. Those who support Ag Gag Laws would support charging the service person with a crime.

Suppose you are walking your dog and from your position on the sidewalk you see man inside his home punching his wife, near the front window. You pull out your smart phone and record the act, so that the video can be used to support the court case against the abuser. Those who support Ag Gag Laws suggest your actions should be a crime.

Suppose from one backyard, someone spots what he or she thinks is dog-fighting equipment in a nearby backyard and then a dog with severe facial injuries walks up to the fence. They take pictures of the equipment and the dog.

But when the police arrive later, the evidence is gone. When the compassionate person shows the photos they took earlier, Ag Gag supporters want that individual arrested, while the dog fighters walk free.

Those who support Ag Gag laws would suggest the crimes being committed are a matter of privacy for the criminals engaging in the abuse. Translated: ‘How dare anyone be bold enough to document the severe abuse of an innocent animal.

The primary goal of our criminal justice system should be to protect the innocent. The system should not work to protect abusers, while making criminals out of those who report the abuse.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

ALDF: First person charged with violating Ag Gag Law

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The Animal Legal Defense Fund reports the first person has been charged with violating the Ag Gag Law in Utah.

The ALDF has filed a lawsuit in the state to overturn the horrible law.

In this video, people are being harassed for standing in a public right-of-way. So a crime can be underway and the people documenting the crime can be harassed? What’s wrong with this picture?

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Pack of Compassion Award: Carrie Underwood

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Singer Carrie Underwood gets a Pack of Compassion Award for speaking out against Ag-Gag laws. But after she did so, Tennessee politician Andy Holt suggested she should “stick to singing.”

Perhaps Holt should stick to twiddling his thumbs, as his actions are indicative of someone who knows absolutely nothing about animal welfare. But still, he told WSMV the Ag-Gag bill he supports is in the best interest of the animals. In reality, the legislation is designed to shut down undercover videos that expose animal cruelty.

We need a greater focus on science education, throughout our education system. And I’d like to see citizenship and compassion get some classroom time. Maybe we can see more kids become elected officials later in life, who have a better background in these studies.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Protect-animal-abusers bill on the way to Tennessee Governor’s desk

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The Tennessee legislature has joined other state bodies in the effort to protect those who abuse animals. This is another Ag-Gag law, with the intent of putting up iron curtains around factory farms or anywhere animals are being abused.

Those with something to hide have something to hide and their buddies in power are right behind them.

The Daily Times has the details and quote from Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the US.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Supporters of ag-gag laws are not offering proposals to protect animals from abuse

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Undercover video in any number of cases of late has exposed animal cruelty on factory farms and in at least one case where horses were being trained. The response has been diverse – from one side being outraged to the other side attempting to cover up any future cases of abuse.

I’m not hearing suggestions from the other side – suggestions that might help animals and end these abuses. I’m not seeing outrage from that side of the room. They are not crying out for unannounced inspections from state and federal authorities.

So since we know the abuses are occurring, we must have some sort of undercover investigations and surprise inspections. The states that are banning undercover video by animal-welfare organizations, should be required to fund law enforcement undercover operations – on a regular basis.

But my fear is that these industries will pay off or buy influence over state and federal agencies – the way the oil and gas industries have influence over the regulatory system.

The Denver Post reports the American Legislative Exchange Council, described as “a business advocacy group with hundreds of state representatives from farm states as members,” is creating model bills, “drafted by lobbyists and lawmakers.”

One of its model bills is “The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act.” They want to tab the animal welfare organizations that trying to expose cruelty as terrorists.

We are losing influence to powerful entities – and within this trend, the environment and animals are suffering and human health is at risk.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Wacky Quote of the Day – Or, Ag-gag quote will make you gag

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The effort to hide animal abuser from the public view continues this week in Arkansas, where two bills are being reviewed that would shut down any investigations of animal cruelty, other than those conducted by specifically law enforcement officials.

Of course, the underlying effort is to shut down any cruelty investigations. The supporters of ag-gag laws know law enforcement has its hands full with all sorts of crime. And most importantly in this case, the abusers know that unless the crime is uncovered, it won’t be investigated at all.

But get this, reports supporters of one of the bills claim the purpose is to provide –

… “legal protection to animal owners and their animals; to ensure that only law enforcement agencies investigate charges of animal cruelty.”

Protection of “their animals” -? Really? What kind of twisted non-logic is that? Ensuring that animals can be abused behind an iron curtain is somehow protecting them?

Claim privacy or use some other argument for hiding these acts. But don’t claim ag-gag laws protect animals. That claim is beyond silly. It’s the AG-GAG Gag Us quote of the day.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Ag-gag laws hide those with something to hide

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If some states want to ban undercover video within the walls of factory farms, then replace it with something better. If abusers don’t want to be subjected to cameras operated by animal-welfare activists, then let’s put the cameras in the hands of inspectors – with a live feed – so that we can all see the results.

If there is nothing to hide, then let us all see the view from inside factory farms, on days when they don’t know the video inspection is coming. Let’s allow inspectors to go undercover to catch cases when no one thinks anyone will be watching.

What we’re hearing now – from elected officials and industry insiders – are attempts to hide these practices from the public’s view. This comes at a time when the welfare of the animals and the welfare of human health depends on a full exposure of sunlight.

The LA Times editorial board wrote this week about another attempt to gag those who want to expose any abuses on factory farms in California. The bill there would require anyone who records evidence of abuse turn that video or audio or photographs over to authorities within 48 hours.

What this really does is shut down any long-term collection of evidence.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic