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Tennessee residents - please say no to the ag-gag bill

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  • #81
    Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
    Not that most who are posting on this thread care, but here are several viable reasons why the 24 hour reporting rule may be a problem. I'll be waiting on a reply from the 3 horsemen and the 4th on training wheels.

    "Why are these provisions problematic? There are a few key reasons, but Big Ag doesn't choose to recognize them. A blog by the Animal Agriculture Alliance defending these "Farm Protection" bills (as the industry prefers to call them) suggests that if organizations (like the Humane Society of the United States, or HSUS, and Mercy for Animals) who have carried out undercover investigations "truly cared about animal welfare, then they wouldn't wait one second to report a valid issue to the proper authorities." These organizations, the commentator argues, would rather let their cameras roll for days or weeks, trading away law enforcement's ability to intervene early in cases of animal cruelty to create lengthy "propaganda" pieces.

    This cynical view, however, ignores the important role that long-form undercover investigations play in combating animal cruelty and the common experience of whistleblowers within the food industry and beyond. Undercover video:

    Motivates the public to take action
    Provides a larger body of evidence for law enforcement, and
    Protects the whistleblower
    Preventing all of the above, mandatory reporting laws are simply wolves dressed in sheep's clothing.

    Let's break these reasons down. First, longer-form investigative pieces compel the public to place direct pressure on violators to take action to prevent animal abuse. Case in point: late USDA veterinarian Dean Wyatt consistently raised concerns of humane handling violations at two processing plants, but his complaints weren't treated seriously by the government until undercover footage taken by HSUS at the plants was released, sparking public outrage and vindicating him. By then, however, he had been transferred, demoted and stigmatized for doing his job. Wyatt's case is one of many showing the routine practice of whistleblower retaliation that makes documenting wrongdoing via video recordings essential.

    Second, documenting longer-form investigations provides law enforcement with a larger body of evidence to facilitate prosecution than a report of a single isolated incident. And law enforcement apparently needs all the help and encouragement it can get, as reports of animal cruelty rarely result in prosecution and conviction. According to a report issued by the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, of the 1,369 animal cruelty cases brought in that state between 2004 and 2007, only 182 resulted in conviction. In most cases, the prosecutor decided not to prosecute.

    Lastly, and perhaps most important, mandatory reporting laws like those proposed in Nebraska and New Hampshire are intended to, and will in fact, make performing and documenting these valuable longer-form investigations impossible. That's because, absent meaningful whistleblower protections for the workers required to report violations, which these bills don't provide, mandatory reporting requirements will make it easy for the company to isolate those who speak up and retaliate against them. If workers are forced to come forward with such evidence in a matter of hours, it eliminates the possibility of them working with outside organizations to both shield their identity and publicize the wrongdoing correctly."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/food-i...b_2593152.html

    And yes, it's from the Huffington Post, and yes, I'm a liberal...and proud of it.
    Laura - this is a good link. TFS
    from sunridge1:Go get 'em Roy! Stupid clown shoe nailing, acid pouring bast@rds.it is going to be good until the last drop!Eleneswell, the open trail begged to be used. D Taylor

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    • #82
      Originally posted by Bluey View Post
      Except that here we are talking about animal rights extremists that break laws in their quest, really fanaticism to eliminate all use of animals by humans.
      They are even listed in domestic terrorist lists.

      Not exactly the kind of whistle blower you want us to believe is such a paragon of virtue.
      Not necessarily Bluey, it could very well be an employee. Not everyone who is horrified by animal abuse or dangerous food processing is a RARA.

      Comment


      • #83
        Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
        Without realizing it you just proved my point. By requiring reporting within 24 hours it makes it damn difficult to keep it anonymous. Anonymity could prevent retaliation.
        Anonymity, however, is lost if a case proceeds court.

        The Constitution requires the prosecution to present evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a crime occurred and the person in the dock did it. It also gives that person the right to confront witnesses against them. This means the witnesses must step forward and tell their story. While there are limited uses for "confidential informants" they are generally narrow and distrusted (as they should be).

        The Rules of Evidence are quite strict on photo and video evidence, requiring the person offering it to present its "provenance." If the person who took the video or photo refuses to testify, or is not offered, the evidence generally doesn't come in.

        I will admit that my views are colored by almost 20 years assisting prosecuting attorneys in presenting criminal matters. Many assume that since I've worked mostly the prosecution side (including some time as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney) that I'm biased in favor of law enforcement. That would be wrong. I've seen most of the various types of "over zealous" police conduct. If certified officers, who have taken an oath to fairly enforce the law, can get caught up in the "competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime" how much more must we be careful of "civilians" who've taken no oath are are on a "mission?"

        Animal welfare does not trump Constitutional rights or the Rules of Criminal Procedure (including the Rules of Evidence).

        G.
        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

        Comment


        • #84
          Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
          Anonymity, however, is lost if a case proceeds court.

          The Constitution requires the prosecution to present evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a crime occurred and the person in the dock did it. It also gives that person the right to confront witnesses against them. This means the witnesses must step forward and tell their story. While there are limited uses for "confidential informants" they are generally narrow and distrusted (as they should be).

          The Rules of Evidence are quite strict on photo and video evidence, requiring the person offering it to present its "provenance." If the person who took the video or photo refuses to testify, or is not offered, the evidence generally doesn't come in.

          I will admit that my views are colored by almost 20 years assisting prosecuting attorneys in presenting criminal matters. Many assume that since I've worked mostly the prosecution side (including some time as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney) that I'm biased in favor of law enforcement. That would be wrong. I've seen most of the various types of "over zealous" police conduct. If certified officers, who have taken an oath to fairly enforce the law, can get caught up in the "competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime" how much more must we be careful of "civilians" who've taken no oath are are on a "mission?"

          Animal welfare does not trump Constitutional rights or the Rules of Criminal Procedure (including the Rules of Evidence).

          G.
          That's fine G and they should have to come forward if the case proceeds to court. I absolutely agree. But, if you look at the statistics, very few abuse cases do proceed to court.

          Comment


          • #85
            Laura,
            If very few cases proceed to court, it is only because of the expense to fight the charges. Defhr claims costs of $2,000-$2,400 per horse per month if horses are seized. They use their outrageous costs as leverage to coerce the accused to surrender the animals and not fight it, or they will have to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to the rescue at the end of the case. A recent law in Maryland has now made such extortion illegal, but similar methods are still used in many states. So you can't assume anything from a high rate of plea bargains or surrenders.

            Comment


            • #86
              Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
              That's fine G and they should have to come forward if the case proceeds to court. I absolutely agree. But, if you look at the statistics, very few abuse cases do proceed to court.
              We begin with the principle that There Are Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

              So, please begin by citing the statistics that establish your thought.

              This is not a question of what's "fine" and what's not. It's a question of legality and the protection of the rights of the people involved. Animal welfare laws do not create rights in animals; they create responsibility in persons. PETA, HSUS, and others would claim that animals DO, in fact, have rights; I most strongly disagree. But even if rights were found in animals they would be placed into our normal Constitutional framework. Then we would have to go about the messy business of resolving questions when right conflict.

              The present mood of "zealotry" in much of the anti-soring crowd is deeply troubling and, IMO as a long term veteran of the "soring wars", one of the reasons the soring crowd has lasted as long as it has. Zealots don't need evidence or laws or rights; they only need their mission. They are one of the most dangerous forms of human being. Zealots have brought us the death of Socrates, the Spanish Inquisition, the Reformation, the state sponsored terror of the French Revolution, the Holocaust, the Stalinism, Prohibition, McCarthyism, etc. As you might guess, I don't like zealots.

              If you are all for allowing the authorities to walk into any barn at any time on any pretext (or no pretext) to see if "animal cruelty" is going on are you equally comfortable with allowing the authorities to enter your home at any time under any pretext (or no pretext) to see if child abuse or elder abuse or domestic abuse is present? Because if you allow barn access then you lay the foundation for house access.

              G.
              Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

              Comment


              • #87
                Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                We begin with the principle that There Are Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

                So, please begin by citing the statistics that establish your thought.

                This is not a question of what's "fine" and what's not. It's a question of legality and the protection of the rights of the people involved. Animal welfare laws do not create rights in animals; they create responsibility in persons. PETA, HSUS, and others would claim that animals DO, in fact, have rights; I most strongly disagree. But even if rights were found in animals they would be placed into our normal Constitutional framework. Then we would have to go about the messy business of resolving questions when right conflict.

                The present mood of "zealotry" in much of the anti-soring crowd is deeply troubling and, IMO as a long term veteran of the "soring wars", one of the reasons the soring crowd has lasted as long as it has. Zealots don't need evidence or laws or rights; they only need their mission. They are one of the most dangerous forms of human being. Zealots have brought us the death of Socrates, the Spanish Inquisition, the Reformation, the state sponsored terror of the French Revolution, the Holocaust, the Stalinism, Prohibition, McCarthyism, etc. As you might guess, I don't like zealots.

                If you are all for allowing the authorities to walk into any barn at any time on any pretext (or no pretext) to see if "animal cruelty" is going on are you equally comfortable with allowing the authorities to enter your home at any time under any pretext (or no pretext) to see if child abuse or elder abuse or domestic abuse is present? Because if you allow barn access then you lay the foundation for house access.

                G.
                Oh, but this is not about authorities, this is about PETA wanting to waltz about your rights and properties, without legal binding or responsibilities the law has.

                Comment


                • #88
                  Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
                  Oh, but this is not about authorities, this is about PETA wanting to waltz about your rights and properties, without legal binding or responsibilities the law has.
                  Indirectly it is, because the interloper will take what they observe and either give it to the authorities and demand prosecution or publish it to begin a program of character assassination.

                  The Fourth Amendment exists for a reason. One of the consequences of the Amendment is that guilty persons routinely escape successful prosecution because either evidence can't be collected or because the actions of law enforcement violate it's strictures and the evidence is excluded. Watch TV cop shows for a while and you will see a very broad spectrum of Constitutional violations while collecting evidence. In Hollyweirdland "getting the job done" is a superior value to the preservation of individual rights. TV, however, is fantasy. In the real world of law enforcement officers who disregard Constitutional restrictions can come to a very bad end.

                  The use of "civilian generated" evidence is more complex. If it is developed in a non-criminal fashion (no breaking and entering; no violation of wire tap laws; no "agenda" on the part of the civilian; etc.) then it's often admitted. But if there is any hint of illegality then it can easily be excluded.

                  The two laws under scrutiny address part of the "civilian generated" evidence question. They are, IMO, fair in their approach. Others, obviously, disagree.

                  G.
                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                  Comment


                  • #89
                    This is a case currently going before the courts..before summer

                    The state proposal, written by HSUS is...horses are allowed to be seizied after a determination by an animal control officer AND verified by another with "relevant credentials" (It very clearly does NOT state vet)

                    The animal/s can be seized AND the owner is immediate required to start paying a court determined restitution fee until the case reaches the court.

                    If the owner of the animal/s is NOT found guilty they do NOT get their animals back. Those animals from the point of seizure are GIVEN to the AC and it is up to them to determine who gets them.

                    By winning, you are not going to receive a criminal charge And you do not have to make "any more payments"

                    By losing..you are going to receive a criminal charge AND you will be responsible for ALL costs until the animal is "suitably" placed.
                    \
                    I do not have the proposal with me but I have requested a copy of it. When I receive it I will post.

                    The problem we are seeing is, as follows...most county's are cash strapped and over paper worked employees. HSUS has viewed this as an opportunity. They go into the AC AND the county board and say..we will write this for you and then you can make any changed deemed necessary.

                    The board is happy to comply and since they rarely have a livestock owning member, they do not understand the issues.

                    During this time, the HSUS and AC will start to inform the courts that the paper (not even approved by the board) IS LAW. They get a conviction and suddently it is a precedent. That is what we call an underground law.

                    This is very very hard to get overturned.

                    Parisio versus U Davis is a classic example. They had to toss out her complaint against the university stating, on its website, that its minimal equine health care standards WERE LAW.

                    The reason the legislative body tossed it was...it WASN"T law..therefore there was nothing to challenge.

                    U Davis ONLY removed their statement that the minimal standards were law after the threat of a major lawsuit where we would also ask all corporations and trusts making donations to U Davis equine division, be held in trust until the issue was resolved.

                    DEFHR works in the very same manner. Above and below the law. And THAT is why they will be in court along with HSUS to defend themselves against fraud, lying, tampering with evidence, attempting to alter equines not owned by them as determined by law (chemical castration) and a variety of other charges.
                    The Elephant in the room

                    Comment


                    • #90
                      Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                      Indirectly it is, because the interloper will take what they observe and either give it to the authorities and demand prosecution or publish it to begin a program of character assassination.

                      The Fourth Amendment exists for a reason. One of the consequences of the Amendment is that guilty persons routinely escape successful prosecution because either evidence can't be collected or because the actions of law enforcement violate it's strictures and the evidence is excluded. Watch TV cop shows for a while and you will see a very broad spectrum of Constitutional violations while collecting evidence. In Hollyweirdland "getting the job done" is a superior value to the preservation of individual rights. TV, however, is fantasy. In the real world of law enforcement officers who disregard Constitutional restrictions can come to a very bad end.

                      The use of "civilian generated" evidence is more complex. If it is developed in a non-criminal fashion (no breaking and entering; no violation of wire tap laws; no "agenda" on the part of the civilian; etc.) then it's often admitted. But if there is any hint of illegality then it can easily be excluded.

                      The two laws under scrutiny address part of the "civilian generated" evidence question. They are, IMO, fair in their approach. Others, obviously, disagree.

                      G.
                      not disagreeing with you.

                      But the explanation might work for some other folks on the fence still.

                      Comment


                      • #91
                        Even when laws require a DVM to concur before a rescue seizure occurs, we have seen the AR zealots abuse this. One recent large case saw many trailers and AR folks lined up and ready to take every horse on the property. The ACO's very own county vet refused to order the seizure, so the ACO sent him home, using the excuse that he needed a hat due to the bright sun. The ACO then called in his buddy who just happened to be a DVM. The new DVM then agreed with the ACO and ordered the seizure.
                        And of course, the threat of large bills were immediately publicized to coerce the owner. But this owner fought and ended up beating the criminal charges. Now there will be a reckoning and the ACO, the rescue group, the volunteers, etc., will have the chance to appear in court to defend their actions. I'll bet a lot of them will end up accepting pleas, etc., rather than risk their life savings to fight. Karma is a wonderful thing!

                        Comment


                        • #92
                          Rumors are running rampant over what could be causing the founder of a rather large rescue group to quit. Could it be the veritable sh**storm of legal clouds now piling up over the east coast?

                          Comment


                          • #93
                            I'm talking about food and I see that you all have moved on to your favorite rescue bashing mode. Have at it.

                            Comment


                            • #94
                              Originally posted by 7arabians View Post
                              Even when laws require a DVM to concur before a rescue seizure occurs, we have seen the AR zealots abuse this. One recent large case saw many trailers and AR folks lined up and ready to take every horse on the property. The ACO's very own county vet refused to order the seizure, so the ACO sent him home, using the excuse that he needed a hat due to the bright sun. The ACO then called in his buddy who just happened to be a DVM. The new DVM then agreed with the ACO and ordered the seizure.
                              And of course, the threat of large bills were immediately publicized to coerce the owner. But this owner fought and ended up beating the criminal charges. Now there will be a reckoning and the ACO, the rescue group, the volunteers, etc., will have the chance to appear in court to defend their actions. I'll bet a lot of them will end up accepting pleas, etc., rather than risk their life savings to fight. Karma is a wonderful thing!

                              this has been happening more and more in the last few years. and I'm frankly SHOCKED that anyone who owns horses or animals at all thinks it is ok. You see it on animal cops, the ignorant people who really have no idea about horses. . I'll never forget the episode they went into a barn with a stalled horse, without the owner present of course and were outraged that it did not have a full bucket of feed, that the empty bucket meant the horse was being starved. . .horse was in fine weight, and of course they were outraged that there was manure in the stall. Horse had water. Total ignorance. Seen far too many questionable seizures on that show, taking horses that should not have been taken, shiny and in decent weight. Then once they take them, they make it almost impossible for the owner to get the horse back. Horse owners should find that terrifying. That people who really don't know anything about horses might be the one determining if your care is proper. Including vets who do not see horses being the vets consulted. Drones?? Does that not still violate the right to be free of unreasonable searches?

                              I'd like to see some of these so called rescues and the HSUS get their pants sued off to the point that they re-think their methods.

                              Comment


                              • #95
                                ACO's abuse authority too it seems. But we all knew that - some of the greatest abusers are those we put in positions of power and authority.

                                I just want to say the more I read the comments pro and con, the more I see each side presents arguments that support the other's position. I hope they each realize that as well. When posters are willing to think and explain and not rant and poke, well it gives me reason to read on Cause somewhere in the middle of these discussions might develop a reasonableness that will prevail.

                                I personally do not think this law and those like it should be the model.
                                from sunridge1:Go get 'em Roy! Stupid clown shoe nailing, acid pouring bast@rds.it is going to be good until the last drop!Eleneswell, the open trail begged to be used. D Taylor

                                Comment


                                • #96
                                  Originally posted by Alagirl View Post
                                  not disagreeing with you.

                                  But the explanation might work for some other folks on the fence still.
                                  I suspect you're right. But that doesn't change what the law is.

                                  G.
                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                  Comment


                                  • #97
                                    I'm with you on this one.

                                    Originally posted by hurleycane View Post
                                    ACO's abuse authority too it seems. But we all knew that - some of the greatest abusers are those we put in positions of power and authority.

                                    I just want to say the more I read the comments pro and con, the more I see each side presents arguments that support the other's position. I hope they each realize that as well. When posters are willing to think and explain and not rant and poke, well it gives me reason to read on Cause somewhere in the middle of these discussions might develop a reasonableness that will prevail.

                                    I personally do not think this law and those like it should be the model.
                                    The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.
                                    H. Cate

                                    Comment


                                    • #98
                                      Not surprising at all that Sue Wallis' name comes up in regards to Ag Gag legislation:

                                      http://trib.com/opinion/columns/prot...12c529d7e.html

                                      I don't think anyone can watch the undercover video at Wyoming Premium Farms in Wheatland without being sickened.

                                      Employees -- some of whom have since been fired -- are shown striking mother pigs with their fists and kicking them, swinging sick piglets in circles by their hind legs and kicking live piglets.

                                      The video and report by the Humane Society of the United States led to investigations by local and state authorities, and resulted in nine people charged with various acts of animal cruelty last month. Their cases are pending.

                                      Watching the video, I hoped that at least this incident could persuade the Legislature to enact stricter laws and penalties for the torture of livestock. All animals deserve to be treated humanely, not abused for someone's twisted amusement.

                                      The video was the motivation for Rep. Sue Wallis, a Republican rancher from Recluse, to sponsor House Bill 126, which establishes a new misdemeanor that could put those convicted in jail for up to six months, and/or a fine up to $750.

                                      But the perpetrators of animal cruelty aren't Wallis' target. If her measure passes, the people punished will actually be the ones who shot the video of farm workers' criminal acts.

                                      When it comes to protecting animals from abuse, I've seen lawmakers in this state do some incredibly stupid things. Topping the list was the House's refusal to ban horse tripping, a rodeo event that has led to the painful deaths of many horses in the few states where it is still legal.

                                      But Wallis' shameful bill is a new low for Wyoming. Flying under the radar this session under the innocuous title of ''Agriculture operations,'' it should really be dubbed the ''Factory Farm Protection Act.''

                                      Criminalizing undercover investigations at such farm operations would effectively tell the owners that they can do anything they want to their livestock. If Wallis' bill was in effect, the animal abuse that was rampant at Wyoming Premium Farms would never have come to light, and still continuing.

                                      HB126 includes a provision that requires anyone who knows a livestock animal is being cruelly treated to report it to the farm owner or manager, a peace officer or the Wyoming Livestock Board.

                                      But if there is a culture of animal abuse at a factory farm, it's highly unlikely any employee will risk becoming a whistleblower. Even if they did, under the bill it would be the accuser's word against the alleged abuser, since it bars anyone, including employees, from placing any type of recording device on the premises.

                                      Nationally, undercover investigations have been key to exposing animal welfare and food safety issues related to industrialized agriculture. In 2008, a Humane Society undercover probe at a slaughter plant in Chino, Calif., resulted in the largest meat recall in U.S. history. Accused of sending meat from sick and injured animals to a federal school lunch program, the company settled the matter for $500 million.

                                      ''Whistleblower suppression bills like HB126 show just how much factory farms have to hide,'' says Jennifer Hillman, the Humane Society's Western regional director.

                                      The Wheatland probe revealed that a woman worker who weighed more than 200 pounds sat on a sow that couldn't walk because of a broken leg and was screaming in agony. Workers allegedly cut off the testicles of piglets and fed them to their sow.

                                      These are the people Wallis' bill would protect from prosecution, while someone who has gathered visual or audio evidence of the workers' wrongdoing would be sent to jail. It's simply unbelievable.

                                      I really don't think Wyoming lawmakers are so out of touch with reality that they would pass this outrageous bill. We'll soon find out. But the fact that it's even under serious consideration is another stain on our state's reputation.
                                      ************************
                                      \"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"

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