Animal activist and country music star Carrie Underwood scolded Tennessee lawmakers on Thursday for passing the so-called “ag-gag” bill that would require anyone with undercover footage of a farm or livestock operation has 24 hours to submit an unedited copy of the footage to law enforcement. Read more about the bill here.
“Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill,” Underwood tweeted Thursday. “If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who's with me?”
Other activists rallied behind Underwood’s tweet, supporting the end to “ag gag” laws and bills.
According to the BC Democrat Online, opponents say that it criminalizes whistle-blowing while allowing livestock producers to cover up alleged abuse. Animal activists groups, however, have been faulted in the past for waiting weeks – or even months – before releasing edited video footage to law enforcement. Click here to read more from the BC Democrat Online.
However, a reporting time frame would not be unique for abuse in the state. Republican Tennessee Representative Andy Holt pointed to Knox News that requiring animal abuse footage to be turned over to authorities within 24 hours is no different from current law requiring reporting of child abuse to authorities. See, “Bill would require copy of undercover livestock videos sent to law enforcement.”
The livestock industry is also moving to put more emphasis on responding quickly and proactively to alleged abuse.
In collaboration with the Center for Food Integrity (CFI), the pork and dairy industries recently launched the “See It? Stop It!” initiative to encourage employees to report animal mishandling immediately.
“Those in agriculture are understandably frustrated by undercover videos. The actions of a few captured on video can taint public perception of the entire livestock community. Taking action to stop abuse demonstrates a genuine commitment to do what’s right for the animals on farms,” Roxi Beck, a CFI representative, said in a news release.