ALEC, Meat/Poultry Industries, State Bills Target Farm Animal Abuse Videos Revealing Calves Skinned Alive, Cows Suffocated

My brother just emailed me a link from that made my stomach turn. Then again, animal cruelty, like all torture, always does, but the abuses in this story are especially egregious. I want those responsible for these atrocities– and those abetting them– to be exposed and for the entire article to be more widely read, so I hope you’ll share:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — An undercover video that showedCalifornia cows struggling to stand as they were prodded to slaughter by forklifts led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history. In Vermont, a video of veal calves skinned alive and tossed like sacks of potatoes ended with the plant’s closureand criminal convictions.

Now in a pushback led by the meat and poultry industries, state legislators across the country are introducing laws making it harder for animal welfare advocates to investigate cruelty and food safety cases.

Some bills make it illegal to take photographs at a farming operation. Others make it a crime for someone such as an animal welfare advocate to lie on an application to get a job at a plant.

Here’s my brother’s comment:

Such “laws” are clearly a corruption of the intent of our legal system. And I wonder why more news organizations haven’t jumped on this story.

Maybe if we spread the word (tweet, post, write letters to the editor), the news media will get the hint. Or maybe their negligence has something to do with ALEC’s influence:

Formal opposition to the California bill comes from the ASPCA, the Teamsters, the HSUS and dozens of others. They say these attempts by the agriculture industry to stop investigations are a part of a nationwide agenda set by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think tank backed by business interests.

ALEC has labeled those who interfere with animal operations “terrorists,” though a spokesman said he wishes now that the organization had called its legislation the “Freedom to Farm Act” rather than the “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act.”

You all remember ALEC, right? It’s an organization of state legislators that favors federalism and conservative public policy solutions. They literally write legislation for Republican Congress members, who then do whatever they can to pass it. The Nation:

Of all the Kochs’ investments in right-wing organizations, ALEC provides some of the best returns: it gives the Kochs a way to make their brand of free-market fundamentalism legally binding.

The videos in question were shot, for the most part, by undercover operatives who got hired by the meat processors and who were tenacious and gutsy enough to reveal shockingly gruesome footage of scenes like “a worker standing on a downed dairy cow’s nostrils to suffocate it and others repeatedly shot in the head.”

If that bothers you as much as it bothers me, you’ll feel compelled to get this report around as quickly as possible.

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