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‘Ag-Gag’ Bill Introduced in Illinois

Criminal charges sought for false accusations of animal mistreatment

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
  • Congratulations to Illinois for coming out with what is arguably the most idiotic ag-gag bill, in a field of ag-gag bills noticeable for their lack of forethought and consideration. 

  • The main problem with this law is that “knowingly false” is subjective. How can anyone prove the contents of my mind? In practice it would mean that if you as a witness cannot
    directly prove your claims you are a criminal. Being a witness isn’t
    proof, so how would the police be able to investigate anything if
    anyone coming forward to report a crime is legally retaliated against?
    If this is combined with other Ag-gag bills such as criminalizing the
    taking of photographs of such a facility it would make it literally
    impossible for anyone to legally do anything to prove their claims.