Terry Lewis: ‘Ag-gag’ bill about profits

June 10, 2013 

‘Ag-gag’ absurdity

The bizarre news from the N.C. Chamber of Commerce asserting that state Senate Bill 648 is being mischaracterized as an “ag-gag” bill is disingenuous to the point of absurdity (May 31 news story).

SB 648 is virtually identical to ag-gag bills submitted in other state legislatures across the country. This is unsurprising since they all can claim the ALEC-based “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” as their ideological ancestor.

There are the three common provisions in ag-gag bills: photography/video bans, job application fraud and mandatory reporting within 24 to 48 hours. All of these provisions are present in SB 648.

In an example of up-is-down logic in its press release, the chamber asserts that the mandatory time limit shuts down the abuse more quickly. The reality is that whistleblowers are looking for institutionalized patterns of abuse, which may take months to research. The time limit effectively prevents any in-depth investigation by whistleblowers, news organizations and others seeking to uncover cases of abuse and neglect.

These draconian bills to cover up animal abuse crimes and silence a free press show just how far the animal agribusiness industry and the N.C. Chamber of Commerce are willing to go in the pursuit of profits.

Terry Lewis

Chapel Hill

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