This morning a post written by independent journalist Will Potter made the front page of the social news website Reddit. It’s now blowing up on Twitter. Reaching thousands of people, Potter’s post detailed the first ag-gag prosecution in the United States.
A 25-year-old Utah woman who says she was standing on a public street outside a slaughterhouse used her cell phone to film an injured cow being carted away by a tractor lift. Amy Meyer now faces a class B misdemeanor for agricultural operation interference.
Ag-gag laws, like the one that passed last year in Utah, are specifically designed to silence investigators who expose animal welfare abuses on factory farms. But they can reach much further than that, potentially penalizing other witnesses and whistle-blowing workers. They can also hide other abuses, including food safety and labor violations. They criminalize acts including the recording, possession or distribution of photos, video and/or audio on a farm.
“This case illustrates the underlying intent of these laws: to keep citizens in the dark about what happens to animals on factory farms and where their food comes from,” says Suzanne McMillan, Director of the ASPCA’s Farm Animal Welfare Campaign.
Got a sec? Today we’re joining forces to celebrate National Animal Advocacy Day—and we could really use your help! We need everyone to pick up the phone, call their legislators and urge them to ban horse slaughter once and for all.
Horse slaughter is barbaric and cruel. It’s not only bad for horses, but it also for people. Meat from American horses is unsafe for human consumption. Enacting a ban on horse slaughter has never been more urgent.
What Do You Say? It’s simple. Ask your legislators to support the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act. The SAFE Act will prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the U.S. and ban their export abroad for that purpose. This bill will protect our nation’s horses from the predatory horse slaughter industry and protect the public from toxic horse meat.
The ASPCA wanted to take a day out of the year to draw special attention to the plight of horses in our country. We chose April 26 because in 1866 our founder, Henry Bergh, stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for the mistreatment of a horse on April 26. Horses were critical to our mission at the founding of the ASPCA—and they’re just as important now.
Guest blog by Daisy Freund, Manager of the ASPCA’s Farm Animal Campaign
Did you know that roughly 9 billion animals are raised for dairy, meat and eggs each year in the U.S.? Most of these animals are crammed together by the hundreds or thousands. Not only do these factory farms have poor or nonexistent animal welfare standards—but they’re also environmental nightmares.
Here are the top five ways factory farms are hurting the Earth:
Animal agriculture generates 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, including 9% of carbon dioxide, 65% of nitrous oxide emissions and 37% of methane emissions. Most of that methane comes from belching cows and rotting manure.
In the U.S., confined animals generate three times more raw waste than humans generate. Their manure is commonly stored in open-air “poop lagoons,” which release dangerous toxins such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and methane into the air and leach heavy metals, drugs and other additives given to the animals into the ground water. That’s just gross!
The waste is often used as crop fertilizer and over-applied to nearby fields, resulting in further air pollution and high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen in the water supply. Excess nitrogen robs water of oxygen and destroys aquatic life.
Factory farms deplete our water by using large volumes for cleaning, cooling and drinking.
The fossil fuels required to raise this staggering number of animals and produce their food emit 90 million tons of carbon dioxide worldwide every year. More than half of the world’s corn is fed to animals, and corn requires more nitrogen fertilizer than any other crop.
We’re all counting on members of Congress to take action on animal fighting, horse slaughter and puppy mills—so to remind them of the amazing difference animals make in our lives, we arranged for them to spend a little quality time with some adorable animals at Paws for Love, a Capitol Hill Valentine’s Day event hosted by the ASPCA.
During Paws for Love, legislators and congressional staff got to canoodle with adoptable animals from area shelters and rescues. The shelters got to highlight their important work, and, best of all, some deserving animals actually found their forever homes! Check out the video below to see highlights from this aww-inspiring event.
As the ASPCA celebrates its 147th anniversary this month, we are proud to be upholding the legacy of our founder Henry Bergh, who knew the importance of having strong laws to protect animals. Elected officials need to know that animal welfare is important to their constituents, and every voice counts. Help carry on the tradition of Henry Bergh: Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to tell your representatives in Congress and in your state legislature that animals deserve to be protected.