As fellow blog writer Adonia Davis mentioned in her blog posted earlier today, in 2007 undercover videos shot by the HSUS at California slaughterhouses showed horrific footage of abuses being committed against downed cows. Partially as a result of these videos, the State of California passed a law requiring that downed animals be humanely euthanized. Unfortunately it looks like the Supreme Court may overturn said law due to conflicts with federal law. For more information see Adonia’s post.
It is also unfortunate that the incidence of cruelty against those downed cows in the California slaughterhouse was not an insolated incident. Numerous organizations throughout the United States, and the world have conducted undercover investigations and discovered similar abuses. For instance, Animal Aid, an organization based in Britain conducted similar undercover investigations and released videos of various abuses being committed.
It seems, however, that these investigations may have paid off- at least in Britain. According to news sources, the outcry as a result of Animal Aid’s video releases prompted several of Britain’s largest slaughterhouses to install video surveillance in an attempt to monitor the conduct of their employees. Furthermore, the videos have lit a fire under the Department for Food and Rural Affairs, which is now considering the implementation of required video surveillance at all slaughterhouses in England, Scotland and Wales.
Unfortunately things are not going quite as well in the United States, as there is more governmental push-back against similar undercover investigations and campaigns. In New York, S5172-2011, a bill which strives to make illegal the use of audio recording or photography at a farm without the owner’s consent, is currently pending before the State Senate. A similar bill is also pending in Iowa, which would criminalize the distribution or possession of video taken without permission at an agricultural facility.
The bright light at the end of a dark tunnel is that two similar bills- one in Minnesota and one in Florida have both failed. However, this bright light is dim. We can only hope that some day in the future, a discussion of transparency such that is occurring in Britain will start happening here, on our home turf.
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