Not to beat a dead horse, but HSUS is essentially saying it’s OK for some farm employee to beat a live one for weeks or months if it’s for the supposed “greater good” of making animal agriculture look bad. While a good farmer cares for the welfare of individual animals, animal liberation activists are willing to put individual welfare lower on the totem pole than media campaigns.
Splicing footage over a few weeks or months can paint any kind of misleading picture for someone on a mission. If someone filmed an elementary school teacher for several months and then spliced together two minutes of the teacher raising her voice, yawning, or not paying attention, it could make a good teacher look bad—even though the video only represented a tiny fraction of the overall picture.
A Mercy for Animals investigation last year alleged to show cruelty at a pork farm. A panel of animal experts reviewed the footage and found that the animals were generally well-treated—but the review came after the activists had been able to poison the well in the media.
While fighting animal cruelty should be the top priority, undercover videos have instead turned into media exercises. In most cases animals face abuse longer than necessary.
Mandatory reporting of animal abuse footage is a needed reform that places law enforcement in the driver’s seat. Law enforcement has the expertise and impartiality to make proper judgment calls. Authorities may determine that alleged cruelty should be further investigated and documented. They may choose to act immediately, resulting in an abuser’s arrest or termination. Or they may consult animal experts and determine that the vegan activists’ allegations of cruelty are unfounded propaganda.
The result will be that perpetrators are stopped faster. The public, meanwhile, can still learn of crimes, as arrest records and trials are open to the media.
Opponents have dubbed mandatory reporting bills “ag gag,” but the description is disingenuous. There is nothing preventing activists from testifying or speaking to the media about what they saw. There is simply a duty to report.
That’s something you would think that self-anointed animal protection groups would support, but you would be mistaken.
Rick Berman is the Executive Director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies and consumers to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices. Visit HumaneWatch.org to learn more.