Award-winning country music superstar Carrie Underwood has voiced her opposition to Tennessee’s “ag-gag” bill, which, if approved by Governor Bill Haslam, will make it the seventh state to adopt the measure.
The bill aims to dissuade undercover investigations of animal factory farm abuse, by making taking photos or video a criminal act. Anyone obtaining such footage would be required to turn it over to law enforcement within 24 hours.
Underwood, an animal rights activist and vegetarian, tweeted that she would show up on Governor Haslam’s doorstep if he signed the bill into law. It passed through the state Senate last week with a 22-9 vote and through the House 50-43. Once the Governor signs it, the bill would become law, taking effect on July 1.
Undercover investigations are invaluable to animal rights organizations. Felony convictions have been secured through the precarious work of undercover investigators who risk their lives by either taking jobs in factory farms, or sneaking into facilities to film neglect, abuse, starvation, illnesses and disease.
A 2008 Humane Society of the U.S. undercover investigation of Hallmark Westland slaughter facilities in California led to the largest meat recall in the country’s history, which likely saved countless Americans from illnesses related to contaminated meat.
Ag-gag bills are in effect in some of the largest meat, egg and dairy producing states including Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas. Bills have been defeated in Florida, New York, Minnesota, and Illinois, and proposed in Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Wyoming, California, Vermont, and North Carolina.
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