'Ag Gag Bill' targets undercover work - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

'Ag Gag Bill' targets undercover work

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Animal rights groups say a state bill making its way through the legislature would jeopardize food safety.

Activists say Senate Bill 468, N.C. Commerce Protection Act of 2013, denies animal rights groups the ability to hold farmers accountable. The bill, if signed into law, makes it a crime for an organization or individual to lie about who they are in order to video on farms.

S.B. 468 would make it unlawful for a prospective employee to lie about how they are or who they represent.

"How can they be trusted when they're going in telling lies to get hired?" Republican Sen. Brent Jackson said.

Undercover work by the Humane Society of the United States has revealed widespread incidents of animal cruelty at farms in places such as Wyoming and California.

Recordings made by undercover members of the Humane Society in Wyoming showed workers at a pork farm punching and throwing pigs. The videos led to nine workers at the pork farm being charged with cruelty to animals.

Also, a 2008 investigation by the Humane Society at a California cattle farm revealed workers mistreating animals by using forklifts and chains to move them in effort to get the cattle to pass USDA inspection. The video led to the largest meat recall in history.

"If it wasn't for our investigation, that meat was destined for the school lunch program. This was food going to children," Matt Dominguez, public policy manager for Farm Animal Protection at The Humane Society of the United States, said.

Jackson, who is sponsoring S.B, 648, known as the "Ag Gag Bill," says incidents like those documented by the Humane Society are not the norm.

"I think these are isolated incidents where bad things happened. We live in a world where if you are under a microscope 24 hours a day, you're going to make a mistake," Jackson said.

The Humane Society sees things differently.

"Instead of cleaning up their bad behavior, they want to criminalize anyone who tries to speak out against them," Dominguez said.

North Carolina is one of 11 states to propose Ag Gag Bill-type legislation this year. In 2012, 10 states introduced similar legislation. Three of those bills were signed into law.

Charlotte Huffman

An award-winning journalist with an investigative edge, Charlotte has driven legislative change with reports on workplace safety concerns and contaminated groundwater. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

  • Virginia Cares gives employers incentive to hire ex-offenders

    Virginia Cares gives employers incentive to hire ex-offenders

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:56 AM EDT2014-08-20 11:56:46 GMT
    Virginia Cares is seeing success with a program that places ex-offenders into new jobs. Looking Forward gives employers a key incentive to hire ex-offenders.
    Virginia Cares is seeing success with a program that places ex-offenders into new jobs. Looking Forward gives employers a key incentive to hire ex-offenders.
  • Bedford Ride thrives despite lack of state, federal money

    Bedford Ride thrives despite lack of state, federal money

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 7:20 AM EDT2014-08-20 11:20:43 GMT
    Four years ago, Bedford Ride lost its federal funding, which accounted for 50 percent of the operating budget. Then the state funding dried up as well.But since then, the program has found new resources through grants, donations and a greater commitment from Bedford County and the Town of Bedford.
    Four years ago, Bedford Ride lost its federal funding, which accounted for 50 percent of the operating budget. Then the state funding dried up as well.But since then, the program has found new resources through grants, donations and a greater commitment from Bedford County and the Town of Bedford.
  • New online tool helps you keep up with vehicle recalls

    New online tool helps you keep up with vehicle recalls

    New online tool helps you keep up with vehicle recalls

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 6:23 AM EDT2014-08-20 10:23:48 GMT
    (WSLS) -- If you've ever wondered whether your car -- or one you're looking to buy -- is on a recall list, the U.S. Department of Transportation is unveiling a brand new search tool to find out.
    (WSLS) -- If you've ever wondered whether your car -- or one you're looking to buy -- is on a recall list, the U.S. Department of Transportation is unveiling a brand new search tool to find out.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.