Ever since 9/11, Uncle Sam has told us that if we see something, we should say something.
But those days might be over, at least in Illinois where state Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Champaign) has introduced a bill calling for criminal charges to be brought against anyone who makes a complaint about the inhumane treatment of animals that is found to be “false or unfounded” by the state Department of Agriculture.
Senate Bill (SB) 1532, filed Feb. 13 in the Illinois General Assembly, is the latest in a series of so-called “ag-gag” bills introduced in at least half a dozen states during the current legislative season. This year, those measures range from New Hampshire’s seven-line bill that would require prompt reporting of animal cruelty to Wyoming’s full-blown bill that would make collecting evidence of animal agriculture abuses illegal.
Illinois farmer Karen Hudson, an activist with Illinois Citzens for Clean Air and Water, says state agencies depend upon the public to inform them of otherwise unreported violations due to lack of oversight and inspections.
“We will stand strong with many other organizations and thousands of Illinois residents in opposition to this bill,” she said. Hudson blames “industry livestock industry advocates” for the Rose bill. She says they want to “gag” the public and hide incidents pollution and illegal runoff from factory farms in Illinois.
Rose has not commented on the bill since it was introduced. He represents ten counties in central Illinois. A similar bill introduced in 2012 was tabled.© Food Safety News