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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Ag gag law should not be passed

  • A new trend across America is the implementation of "ag gag" laws.
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  • A new trend across America is the implementation of "ag gag" laws.
    Pennsylvania has a bill in the legislature right now proposing this concept.
    Ag gag laws are designed to outlaw the videotaping, photographing or recordings of animal cruelty.
    Those in favor of this law say it protects agriculture businesses. Those opposed to the law say it hinders free speech, food safety and animal and worker rights.
    These laws are troubling.
    The constitution of this great nation is based on freedom of the press and freedom in general.
    We've all seen the footage of animals being abused, many times under the care of large corporations.
    Those same corporations are pushing these laws across the country and some have succeeded.
    Basically, it makes it a crime to report abuse.
    That goes against everything this country has stood for since its inception.
    It appears that big agriculture isn't even trying to prevent cruelty — it's trying to prevent people from finding out that it happens.
    That should send red flags up every pole in the country.
    When a big corporation is trying to mask illegal behavior, that means trouble.
    One are of pride America has had for decades is our ability to provide food for a huge part of the world. And to be able to feed the people who live in this country the best food in the world.
    We have done that with proper procedures as well as whistleblowers pointing out when things aren't being done properly.
    Page 2 of 3 - The thing about these proposals is they come straight from big corporations. We don't hear the small farmers screaming to get laws like this passed.
    That's another red flag.
    Big agriculture — like all big business — is about one thing: money. The more they can make the better.
    And there has been too much documentation which reveals just how far big corporations will go in order to increase profits.
    Can you say Enron?
    Do we even bring up the financial meltdown of 2008?
    The stories are endless.
    Nobody is saying that big corporations don't do a lot of good. They certainly employ a lot of people and many of them do operate in a respectable manner.
    But like in anything, there are bad apples in the barrel.
    The same is true of big agriculture.
    Not only have they driven family farms to the brink of extinction, they have also used their might to steer court cases in their favor.
    Currently, Monsanto, the biggest of the big, is fighting for its patent pending rights and the Supreme Court is going to hear the case.
    That is a huge step.
    Farmers around this nation have been put in prison for reusing cotton seeds which they bought from Monsanto.
    The company claims patent right and that the seeds can only be used once.
    We will see what the Supreme Court has to say about this matter.
    Page 3 of 3 - These examples are a good reason why states should not pass ag gag legislation.
    It's simply a matter of trust and when big profits are on the line, trust seems to be lacking on those in charge of the purse strings.
    The Pennsylvania Legislature should get rid of this legislation and focus on the really important issues — like education, health care and infrastructure.
    If someone is abusing animals, the world needs to know.

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