- Dr. Chester A. GipsonDeputy Administrator, Animal Care (AC), APHIS
- Kevin SheaAdministrator, APHIS
- Abbey FretzLegislative Director, APHIS
- Christopher NeedhamLegislative Affairs Specialist
- Animal CareAPHIS
USDA - APHIS (The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service): Stop/Reverse Bills Like the AETA (Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act)
They call it standard practice, I’ll let you decide.
I decided to write this petition because I do not agree with the meat and poultry industry advocates who believe that our First Amendment rights do not apply when profit comes into the picture. The AETA (Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act) and the Ag-Gag bills are designed to incriminate any one who might film, photograph and, in some cases, even just protest against these ‘standard‘ industry practices. The supporters of these bills believe that the current conditions that the animals are kept in are not unethical. However, do you believe that caging up a chicken in a cage that it can barely move in should be considered standard practice? That is just one example of what is considered as ‘standard‘ in the industry.
The AETA statute punishes anyone found to have caused the loss of property or profits by a business or other institution that uses or sells animals (or animal products), or has “a connection to, relationship with, or transactions with an animal enterprise.”1 The Ag-Gag bills that are now being discussed are trying to prohibit similar activities.
Supporters of bills like these often try and rely on that the fact that we are removed from the origin of our food and hence they are terrified of the reality being brought to light in front of conscientious consumers. They believe that these cases are far and few between or that the videos are altered to portray the industry in bad light. Even if there is one case of farm animal abuse so that we can get cheap steak on our tables, isn’t that one too many?
The purpose of these videos is stop anyone who might believe that animal abuse can go unpunished and it has worked. When a video shot by undercover activists exposing poultry abuse by farmers in Iowa was released, they lost their largest customer, McDonalds2. These are the type of consequences that deter other farmers from similar abusive patterns.
In many, if not most, of these cases the abusers plead guilty or are convicted. Doesn’t that only illustrate that these videos are effective? If they were not effective or were altered why would the proposed perpetrators be convicted?
Hopefully, we can encourage better farm practices and achieve a higher standard in the future, but for now please help retain the rights of the citizens who have committed their lives to expose the abuse of farm animals happening today.
I encourage you to do your own research, independent of the links I have provided. For the purpose of my research I used the following websites:
- Deputy Administrator, Animal Care (AC), APHIS
Dr. Chester A. Gipson
- Administrator, APHIS
- Legislative Director, APHIS
- Legislative Affairs Specialist
As representatives of the organization that has been established to look out for the welfare of farm animals, I urge you to step in and stop the Ag-Gag bills and reverse bills like the AETA (Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act). Bills like these allow profit and greed to take precedence over the humane treatment of animals. It is the role of the APHIS, as designated by the government, to prevent the unethical treatment of farm animals, and bills of this nature take away the rights of citizens who want to support and supplement the work of your organization.
The fact that the Ag-Gag bills are trying to take away the freedom of speech from citizens is unconstitutional and the reason the meat and poultry industry advocates are trying so hard to have these bills passed is because the work of ordinary citizens is hurting their profits; profits generated by the unethical treatment of animals.
Please help create a culture that disempowers corporate greed.
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