Senator Mark Norris
9A Legislative Plaza,
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0232
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Ag Gag bill threatens animal and food safety
April 21, 2013
Celebrity singer Carrie Underwood expressed her anger on Friday over some Tennessee lawmakers’ decision in passing the Ag Gag bill which will effectively curb the prosecution of animal cruelty at farms, factories, and slaughterhouses in the state. Underwood tweeted:
“Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who’s with me?”
An outspoken animal advocate and vegetarian, Underwood grew up on a dairy farm in Oklahoma and once realizing where meat came from and the inhumane practices of many farms, changed to a healthier vegetarian diet.
Vegetarian diets set aside however, the Ag Gag bill runs much deeper than anyone’s personal dinner preferences. The new law will require any video recordings of animal cruelty and abuse to be submitted to law enforcement within 48 hours. As a result of this bill, animal protection agencies will not have the time to accumulate enough evidence to document ongoing animal cruelty. Instead the farm or factory will be able to claim the reported animal cruelty was a one-time occurrence and then continue the inhumane conditions protected from humane organization covert investigations.
The 48 hour ruling will also discourage whistle blowers from wanting to testify about animal cruelty.
According to the Memphis Daily News, the measure sponsored by Republican Senator Dolores Gresham, passed by a vote of 22 to 9 with Gresham stating the purpose of the bill is to stop abuse. Ironically, the Humane Society of the United States comprehensive and extensive undercover investigation that uncovered the caustic substances applied to Tennessee Walking horses’ legs and hooves by trainer Jackie McConnell, is in Gresham’s West Tennessee district.
McConnell pleaded guilty to animal cruelty and his participation in the egregious practice of horse soring.
Being prompted forward by the American Legislative Exchange Council who have been calling out humane organizations as terrorists campaigns, the organization promotes the passage of the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act.
Senate GOP leader Mark Norris, according to the Nashville Scene.com contends the bill’s advocates don’t care about stopping animal cruelty stating:
“They support the bill but they should be ashamed for doing so. If you’re truly concerned about animal abuse, deal with the root cause not what people do after they see it. The implication of this bill is that it’s OK to abuse animals. It’s all right.”
It’s only going to get worse for all farm animals as humane organizations and the freedom of the press continues to be challenged as these organizations try to bring awareness to the public advocating for the humane treatment of farm animals and the subsequent dangers of sick and diseased animals entering the American food chain.