It has recently come to my attention that shocking laws have passed in both Iowa and Utah this year. These laws are designed to stop whistle-blowers from going undercover in meat factories and videotaping the cruelty that happens there. In the past 20 years, probably the most essential tool used by animal rights groups to convince the public about the plight of animals has been for whistle-blowers to go into factory farms (undercover), videotape the horrors occurring in those places, and then share their recordings with the public — to make them aware of the extreme suffering and brutality caused to billions of living beings, and to show the poor standard of health in such locations (potentially posing a health risk to the public). Such documentations have been crucial in pushing people to recall contaminated foods and have been essential in make the public aware of the horrors that occur behind close doors in places like Iowa.
Understandably, corporations in places like Iowa want their doors to be shut. They want the freedom to do whatever they feel like, even if that means exploiting animals in filthy, deplorable conditions in order to maximize profit. Corporations like those in Iowa do not want transparency — they want an opaque environment free of scrutiny. They also want people who eat meat to not think about the horrors that went into making their meals. Because of this desire to be secretive about their ways, the corporations of Iowa lobbied politicians there to make a law called an ag-gag law. “Ag-gag” laws, like the one in Iowa, have one purpose: to stop undercover whistle-blowers from revealing the truth about the suffering and cruelty they inflict on animals. The lawmakers cleverly disguise the law with euphemisms, using names such as “animal enterprise interference prevention act”.
The Humane Society of the United States, Mercy For Animals, the ASPCA, PETA and Farm Sanctuary have all came out against ag-gag bills in Iowa. It is now recommended that people boycott all animal products coming from Iowa. People need to send a message to Iowa that trampling on First Amendment rights will not be tolerated in this country. People have a right to know where their food came from and what’s occurring to it. People have a right to go undercover and document the truth. The same is true for the 4 other states with “ag-gag” laws: Utah, North Dakota, Montana and Kansas.
But of those states, Iowa is probably the most important because it has very large agricultural facilities, including the nation’s largest pork producers. People need to fund politicians in Iowa who oppose the draconian new “ag-gag” law, and they need to vote out politicians like Joe Seng who authored the bill. The “ag-gag” law in Iowa MUST be repealed.
Even more shocking is that there were about 7 other states (including New York, Florida and Minnesota) where similar ag-gag bills were introduced and failed. I fear that the big agricultural corporations will keep authoring these laws in all states until they finally get their way. Unless people stop them, they will try year after year to get unconstitutional “ag-gag” laws passed in various states until they succeed.
It is amazing that instead of actually trying to solve the problem by stopping animal slaughter, the agricultural corporations are trying to cover it up by attacking the whistle-blowers (who are the true heroes in this case). It is such bull**** that the good people in Iowa (i.e. those who try to stop animal abuse via videotaping) are now being criminalized, and the real criminals (i.e. those in the meat industry) are getting away with billions of murders every year. The real criminals (the meat industry animal abusers and animal torturers) are now being protected by Iowan law thanks to the new ag-gag law, and the whistle-blowers who try to stop the animal abuse are now being punished. The law in Iowa, Utah, North Dakota, Montana and Kansas is the opposite of the way it should be.
Part of the problem is that in many states, farm animals are deliberately excluded from the state’s animal cruelty laws. State laws often say things like A person may not torture or kill an animal… farm animals and animals used for “standard farm purposes” are exempt from this law. Either that, or they’ll say A person may not torture, kill or strangulate an animal… so long as it is not a farm animal. Sometimes the law of a state will say A person may not torture or kill an animal… this law may not be construed to be used against “accepted” farm practices.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this kind of legal language is UNACCEPTABLE and never should’ve been written in the first place. It is unfair to write a law banning animal cruelty, only to conveniently exclude animals which people torture and kill for profit (i.e. the agricultural industry). See these links:
The above links are to the “consolidated animal cruelty statutes” of Indiana and Montana. They both prohibit cruelty to animals so long as it is not a farm animal undergoing “accepted farming practices”. The term “accepted farming practices” is a euphemism for “cruelly killing billions of animal who suffer miserable lives prior to their deaths”.
And it is not just Indiana and Montana that have this bad legal language — nearly every state conveniently excludes farm animals from their animal cruelty laws. This is not the way the law should be; the law should be protecting all animals from cruelty, regardless of whether they are being “farmed” or not. It is clear that the language in these laws was written by corporations or lobbyists for corporations, and do not represent the will of the public (a recent poll estimated that 71% of Americans support whistle-blowers who try to stop cruelty behind the closed doors of animal slaughter facilities).
Another issue of concern is that in about 28 states, there are “anti-ecoterrorism” acts — the term “ecoterrorism” is a scare tactic used by corporations to paint the good guys (i.e. the anti-slaughter whistle-blowers) as “terrorists”, which is complete bulls***. These bad laws also take on other monikers, such as “law to prevent interference with animal enterprise or facility”. Whatever they are called, these laws, though not as bad as the ag-gag laws, are pretty bad in their own way. By labeling the good guys (i.e. the animals rights people trying to stop abuse) as “ecoterrorists” and making laws to stop their animal advocacy, the corporations have already successfully silenced their opposition in 28 states. Now, in states like Iowa, they’re taking it a step further by unconstitutionally making it a criminal offense to videotape animal cruelty [damning evidence] happening in factory farms.
Go to the anti-ag-gag petition website and sign it: ag-gag.org
Those who are reading this should try to stop eating meat and become a vegetarian. The more vegetarians, the better, because it will mean less money in the pockets of these unethical corporations who try to trample on people’s First Amendment rights by silencing their opposition. If you have that “I’ve gotta have meat” feeling, just buy Boca or Morningstar products in your local grocery store — they are meat imitators (but not actually made of meat). Or you could try Amy’s products, which are always vegetarian. But you should really avoid meat at all costs, and you should definitely not buy any meat coming from Iowa (as a way to send a message to the corrupt politicians there that their behavior is unacceptable).
Above: pink states = states with unjust “hunter harassment” laws; dark yellow (olive) states = states with unjust “hunter harassment” laws AND unjust “interference with animal facilities” laws; red = states with unjust “hunter harassment” laws AND unjust “interference with animal facilities” laws AND unjust “Ag-Gag” laws (anti-whistle-blower laws); gray = no data
Here are some quotes relating to the atrocious, unjust, unconstitutional ag-gag laws:
“One of the best tools the animal protection movement has against factory farming is the truth, and a picture is worth a thousand words. But special interests are trying to take those tools away from activists in Iowa and Florida by trying to ban the making of undercover factory farming videos. In Iowa, H.F.589 creates the crime of “animal facility interference” for shooting a photo or video without the facility owner’s consent, and “animal facility fraud” for those who obtain employment at a farm for the purpose of shooting undercover photos and videos. […] Iowa residents can contact their state senators, and ask them to oppose H.F.589. You can find your Iowa state legislators here, along with their contact information. The Humane Society of the US recommends making a phone call first, then following up with an email. If you’re in a hurry, you can use their webform.
Bottom line? Whether or not it’s unconstitutional, these bills are wrong and dangerous because criminalizing the making of undercover videos protects the animal abusers and hides illegal activity from the public. These bills would also prohibit journalists from shooting undercover videos, and even prohibit the farms’ own employees from making undercover videos of animal cruelty, unsafe work conditions and other illegal activity.” — Doris Lin, http://animalrights.about.com/b/2011/03/23/bills-to-ban-undercover-factory-farming-videos-moving-ahead-in-iowa-and-florida.htm
“Undercover footage filmed last year at Iowa’s Sparboe Egg Farms, America’s fifth-largest egg producer, shows scenes more harrowing than a slasher flick. Workers burn the beaks off young chicks without painkillers, then toss the bloody, beakless birds into crowded pens. Other employees grab hens by their throats and shove them inside battery cages, enclosures so small the birds can’t even stretch their wings and some become mangled and disfigured by cage wires. Others are tied inside plastic bags and left to suffocate. A particularly disturbing incident shows a worker torturing a hen by swinging it around in the air while the bird’s legs are stuck in a trap.
The video was produced by a representative from animal welfare organization Mercy for Animals who took a job with Sparboe to go undercover. While the footage is tough to watch even for the most committed egg eaters, it led to positive results: McDonald’s, Target, Sam’s Club, and Supervalu—Sparboe’s biggest clients—all ended their relationships with the producer after viewing the video last November. But such changes won’t happen in Iowa anymore: Capturing this sort of footage is now illegal under the state’s newly passed “ag-gag” law—and other states are poised to follow.[…]
So if undercover farming videos are bringing about such positive change to the food system, why blow the whistle on whistleblowers? Blame Big [Agricultural groups]. Industrial farming groups like the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Select Farms (the very same operation that was investigated by Mercy for Animals in 2011), the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, the Iowa Farm Bureau, and Monsanto heavily supported the legislation in America’s biggest hog and egg producing state. Because these Big Ag interests mean big money to Iowa, lawmakers wanted to crack down on the folks who hurt their bottom line: animal welfare advocates.
The irony is that while legislatures protect factory farms, they’ve shown far less interest in protecting defenseless animals: No federal regulations protect farm animals from cruelty, and while state regulations exist, factory farms are rarely investigated and laws are seldom enforced. That’s why forward-thinking organizations like the Humane Society of the U.S., Mercy for Animals, and Compassion Over Killing have taken it upon themselves—often at great risk to those involved—to expose the food safety and animal cruelty issues rampant at factory farms throughout the nation. Undercover farming investigations make our food system better—not just for animals, but for consumers too.” — Sarah Parsons, http://www.good.is/post/gag-order-why-states-are-banning-factory-farm-whistleblowers/
From the New York Times:
“Undercover videos showing grainy, sometimes shocking images of sick or injured livestock have become a favorite tool of animal rights organizations to expose what they consider illegal or inhumane treatment of animals. Made by animal rights advocates posing as farm workers, such videos have prompted meat recalls, slaughterhouse closings, criminal convictions of employees and apologies from corporate executives assuring that the offending images are an aberration.
In Iowa, where agriculture is a dominant force both economically and politically, such undercover investigations [are now] illegal. […] Their opponents, including national groups that oppose industrial farming practices, say these undercover investigations have been invaluable for revealing problems and are a form of whistle-blowing that should be protected. They argue that the legislation essentially hides animal abuse and food safety violations.[…]
After a 2008 investigation of an Iowa pig farm showed workers beating sows and piglets as well as bragging about the abuse, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals turned over its unedited video to law enforcement, leading to criminal convictions against workers for animal abuse, said Jeff Kerr, general counsel for the organization.[…]
The association representing egg producers helped draft legislation to ban such videos, earning support from other powerful agricultural groups in Iowa.” — A.G. Sulzberger, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/14/us/14video.html?_r=1
“[Iowa's new ag-gag law] criminalizes investigative journalists and animal protection advocates who take entry-level jobs at factory farms in order to document the rampant food safety and animal welfare abuses within. In recent years, these undercover videos have spurred changes in our food system by showing consumers the disturbing truth about where most of today’s meat, eggs, and dairy is produced. Undercover investigations have directly led to America’s largest meat recalls, as well as to the closure of several slaughterhouses that had egregiously cruel animal handling practices. Iowa’s Ag Gag law — along with similar bills pending in other states — illustrates just how desperate these industries are to keep this information from getting out.[…]
As a Humane Society of the United States investigator, I worked undercover at four Iowa egg farms in the winter of 2010. At each facility, I witnessed disturbing trends of extreme animal cruelty and dangerously unsanitary conditions. Millions of haggard, featherless hens languished in crowded, microwave-sized wire cages. Unable to even spread their wings, many were forced to pile atop their dead and rotting cage mates as they laid their eggs.
Every day, I came to work wearing a hidden pinhole camera, using it to film conditions as I went about my chores. Once I quit, the Humane Society released a video of my findings that showed viewers the everyday, routine conditions in modern egg factories. Although nothing I filmed was illegal (since Iowa’s anemic animal cruelty law exempts “customary farming practices”), the video was alarming enough to make national headlines.[…]
But without investigations like the ones I did in Iowa, the impetus behind this progress would be gone. At least, that’s the hope of groups like the Iowa Poultry Association and Minnesota Pork Producers, each of which helped draft the Ag Gag laws and oppose the federal hen protection bill. They and their backers at Monsanto and Dupont don’t want anything to change at all. They prefer having no rules on how they treat animals and no one from the public second-guessing what they do.
The Ag Gag laws pretend to be about preventing “fraud,” but they actually perpetuate it. They protect a system where consumers are regularly deceived into supporting egregious animal suffering, deplorable working conditions, and environmental degradation. They protect guys like Billy Jo Gregg, a dairy worker who was convicted of six counts of animal cruelty in 2010 after being caught punching, kicking, and stabbing restrained cows and calves at an Ohio farm.[…] Perhaps most egregiously, the Ag Gag laws also protect the slaughterhouses that regularly send sick and dying animals into our food supply, and would prevent some of the biggest food safety recalls in U.S. history.[…] In short, the Ag Gag laws muzzle the few people that are telling the truth about our food. With no meaningful state or federal laws to regulate industrial animal farms, they take away one of the only forms of public accountability this multi-billion dollar industry has ever faced. Now, the foxes are truly guarding the henhouse.” — Cody Carlson, http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/03/the-ag-gag-laws-hiding-factory-farm-abuses-from-public-scrutiny/254674/
“There may be many regulations, but PETA, Avella and others say enforcement is sorely lacking and that undercover investigations are essential. Cayuga County district attorney Jon Budelmann, who prosecuted Phil Niles, tells TIME that the Mercy for Animals video of the employee striking the Willet Dairy cow “was the case.” Banning undercover investigations on farms strikes him as ludicrous. Without proof, he says, authorities would have just one person’s word against another’s. ‘Without the videotape, we wouldn’t have had the admission,’ he says. It seems that down on the farm, if you see something, you have to do more than say something. You have to show something too.” — Alexandra Silver, http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2077514-2,00.html
“[Bills aim to keep Americans in the dark] — The industry has introduced “ag-gag” bills in numerous states aimed at making whistle-blowing on factory farms essentially impossible. Some of the bills would criminalize photo-taking at factory farms, while others would make it a crime for whistle-blowers to gain employment at an agricultural operation. Some would impose unreasonable and impossible reporting requirements intended to silence potential whistle-blowers. These bills aim to ban critical whistle-blowing investigations such as The HSUS’ exposés of unacceptable and callous animal cruelty at a Vermont slaughter plant leading to its closure and a felony criminal conviction—as well as our investigation of a cow slaughter plant in California which prompted the largest meat recall in U.S. history and led to a new federal regulation that banned the slaughter of adult downer cattle. These ag-gag bills raise the question, “What does animal agriculture have to hide?” — http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/campaigns/factory_farming/fact-sheets/ag_gag.html
From the Huffington Post:
“Americans overwhelmingly believe that food from our farms should be safe to eat and that farm animals should not be abused for its production. So it is disturbing that legislators in a number of states throughout the country are considering legislation known as ‘Ag-Gag’ bills that would cripple the ability of investigators to expose animal abuse and food safety concerns. Ag-Gag bills criminalize taking photos or videos on farms to expose problems, such as animal cruelty, environmental and labor violations, and other illegal or unethical behavior. Simply put, Ag-Gag legislation poses a danger to the American public — people and animals.[…]
Legislators bent on suppressing exposés through the passage of Ag-Gag legislation are not only harming animals, but putting all of us — including our children — in jeopardy by preventing our access to critical information about our food supply. They also threaten our constitutional rights by stifling dissemination of information and chipping away at our First Amendment protections.
It’s ironic when you think about it. The individuals targeted by Ag-Gag laws are not the criminals who are beating or stabbing animals (as seen on some undercover videos). Instead, the bills would punish the whistleblowers, the people who dare to lift the veil on these oft-hidden cruelties. The language in the bills varies somewhat state to state, but in many cases the penalties for exposing cruelty may be harsher than those for the actual commission of cruelty. In a number of states the proposed legislation would not only prevent the documentation of the abuse of farm animals, but also could prohibit investigations of puppy mills and dog racing.
Lawmakers who support Ag-Gag bills do so because they are accommodating the agribusiness lobby, not because it is in the interest of their constituents. In fact, a recent national poll by Lake Research Partners found that 71 percent of Americans support undercover investigative efforts to expose farm animal abuse on industrial farms.[…]
These bills represent a wholesale assault on many fundamental values shared by all people across the United States. Not only would these bills perpetuate animal abuse on industrial farms, they would also threaten workers’ rights, consumer health and safety, and the freedom of journalists, employees and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply. We call on state legislators around the nation to drop or vote against these dangerous and un-American efforts.
Ag-Gag laws are an affront to many values Americans hold dear. If you live in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska or New York, you should be especially concerned since Ag-Gag laws are now pending in your state legislatures. Please contact your legislators to let them know that Ag-Gag laws are dangerous for people and animals.” — Ed Sayres, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-sayres/aggag-bills-threaten-our-_b_1370091.html
[Ag-gag laws] are troubling not only to animal protection activists, but also to those concerned with food safety, labor issues, free speech, and freedom of the press. The bills would apply equally to journalists, activists and employees. By prohibiting any type of undercover recordings, a farm’s own employees would be prohibited from attempting to record food safety violations, labor violations, sexual harrassment incidents or other illegal activity. First Amendment concerns were raised[…]
[This paragraph: Matt Rice] Legislation should focus on strengthening animal cruelty laws, not prosecuting those who blow the whistle on animal abuse… If producers truly cared about animal welfare, they would offer incentives to whistleblowers, install cameras at these facilities to expose and prevent animal abuse, and they would work to strengthen animal abuse laws to prevent animals from needless suffering.[…]
Undercover videos are important not just for educating the public, but also because they can be used as evidence in animal cruelty cases. — Doris Lin, http://animalrights.about.com/od/animallaw/a/What-Are-Ag-Gag-Laws-And-Why-Are-They-Dangerous.htm
“If the Iowa law had been in effect in California in 2008, Hallmark and Westland [an agricultural company who was targeted by whistleblowers] would have been able to go to court claiming status as victims of “animal facility tampering” for an “amount equaling three times all the actual and consequential damages” against “the person causing the damages.”
“This flawed and misdirected legislation could set a dangerous precedent nationwide by throwing shut the doors to industrial factory farms and allowing animal abuse, environmental violations, and food contamination issues to flourish undetected, unchallenged and unaddressed,” says Runkle. ”[The Iowa Ag-Gag law] is bad for consumers, who want more, not less, transparency in production of their food.” [The purpose of the law is] “to shield animal abusers from public scrutiny and prosecute investigators who dare to expose animal cruelty, environmental violations, dangerous working conditions or food safety concerns.”[…]
Animal rights organizations like HSUS and MFA – working with investigators to expose violations – could themselves be prosecuted under the new Iowa law. Runkle says passage of the ”ag-gag” law proves Iowa agriculture “has a lot to hide.” “This law is un-American and a broad government overreach. It seeks to shield animal abusers from public scrutiny and prosecute the brave whistleblowers who dare to speak out against animal cruelty, environmental pollution and corporate corruption.” The new law makes criminals out of those who dare to expose cruelty to farm animals and threatens the consumers’ right to know, according to the MFA.[…]
“The intent of [the Iowa Ag-Gag law] is simple: shield animal agribusiness from public scrutiny by punishing whistleblowers and protecting animal abusers,” wrote Pacelle. “By signing this bill into law, animal agribusiness will have unbridled and unchecked power over worker safety, public health and animal welfare.”
This year , ag-gag bills have been introduced in Utah, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Florida and New York. [Of those states, only Utah and Iowa signed them into law]
Under the new [Iowa] law, anyone making “a false statement or representation” as part of an application of employment at an animal facility could, after a first conviction, be charged with a class D felony.
To produce a record of image or sound without the owner’s permission is defined as the new crime of “animal facility interference.” — Dan Flynn, http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/iowa-approves-nations-first-ag-gag-law/#.UEvCVXAtcXx
“Now in Iowa, if someone captures that treatment on video, he or she can be prosecuted. Constitutional law professor Mark Kende of Drake University says this could infringe on free speech rights. It could silence any worker who sees abuse and films it. “He can be threatened, not just with being terminated, but he can be threatened with criminal prosecution,” Kende says. “So this is really an extraordinary form of anti-whistle-blowing legislation — and really troubling in that respect.” — Kathleen Masterson, http://www.npr.org/2012/03/10/148363509/ag-gag-law-blows-animal-activists-cover
Multiple states have passed what are known as “ag gag laws”, designed to penalize investigative reporters who explore conditions on industrial agriculture operations. Many of these laws focus specifically on livestock, in the wake of numerous exposés on the abuses of livestock in industrial agriculture. These laws are a significant threat to the freedom of the press, and it’s rather remarkable that they are being allowed to stand. More than that, they threaten the health and safety of consumers, in addition to making it difficult and sometimes impossible for consumers to make educated choices about the sources of their food.
The US should be in an uproar about ag-gag laws, and it’s not. That’s a telling reflection of attitudes about agriculture, and illustrates the lack of interest among many people in the US about journalism[..] Attempts to raise awareness about the issue are often met with indifference[…]
It should come as no surprise to learn that the source of the pressure behind ag gag laws is, of course, industrial agriculture. Big companies have pushed legislators heavily to pass laws limiting the freedom to report on conditions at livestock facilities, including ranches, feedlots, and slaughterhouses. With the benefit of lobbyists, they can exert pressure directly in the halls of the legislature, as well as doing so indirectly by contributing to the electoral process and deciding who gets elected. In states like Iowa, you have to be agriculture-friendly to get elected, and if you want a chance at beating the competition, you’d better be willing to toe the line on industrial agriculture so you’ll get the needed support.[…]
It’s not just about animal welfare. Industrial agriculture also trashes the environment, something that should be of grave concern even to people who aren’t concerned about the health and wellbeing of animals raised for food. Industrial farms contribute to air, water, and soil pollution, consume vast volumes of water, and destroy soil biology and animal habitat[…]
This is why investigative journalism is important: because it brings these kinds of abuses to light and confronts consumers with information about the facts behind their food. Journalists in a wide range of industries and environments spend months or years on research, often from the inside, to prepare stories intended to spark comment, discussion, and change. Ag gag laws are only one example of an attempt to limit the ability to report freely on pressing social issues, and they should be a subject of anger and horror in the population at large. Lobbyists are attempting to limit access to information, and they are doing so by limiting the abilities of journalists to do their jobs.
The anger about exposés is well-founded; consumers are usually horrified when they see images and video from livestock facilities, as well they should be. Dead and dying animals packed close together in unhealthy, dangerous conditions, some with open sores and other obvious health problems. Animals treated casually and abusively by staff members who need to work fast, and cannot afford compassion or gentleness. Horrific conditions in slaughterhouses, where terrified animals are rushed through the production line and subjected to utterly inhumane and dangerous conditions. Workers who are tired, working through overtime, obviously ill, and at high risk of injury.
That the reaction to exposés is to silence journalists, rather than addressing the poor conditions, is an inevitable consequence of capitalism. It is more cost effective to shut off the stories, rather to fix the problem, and legislators are evidently happy to go along with this plan, passing ag gag laws to ensure silence about the continued abuse of farm animals. Consumers, in turn, tolerate this because they have no idea about the nature of the news they can’t see.” — S.E. Smith, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/06/agriculture-gag-laws-press-freedom
“State Sen. Joe Seng, [author of the Iowa Ag-Gag bill], is challenging three-time incumbent U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack in the state’s Democratic primary on Tuesday for the right to represent Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District in Washington.
Unfortunately for Seng, the folks over at the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) have a very good memory, and they’re hoping Iowa Democrats do too. Just in case, they’ve been busy contacting voters to remind them of Seng’s record, and strongly encouraging primary voters to support Loebsack, whose district was recently redrawn. The legislation Seng authored, they say, “punishes whistleblowers, investigative journalists, and anyone who helps them report on problems uncovered at a factory farm.” Loebsack, on the other hand, is animal-friendly.[…]
Part of our message is to signal to candidates that there are consequences for championing ‘Ag Gag’ bills that stomp on our first amendment rights and dim the spotlight on animal cruelty,” Sara Amundson, executive director of HSLF, tells TakePart. [Update: Seng was defeated by Loebsack] — Clare Leschin-Hoar, http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/06/01/humane-society-legislative-fund-iowa-race-ag-gag
“Ag-gag bills may seek to criminalize the recording, possession or distribution of still images (photos), live images (video) and/or audio at or upon a farm, industrial agricultural operation or “animal facility.” Bills in some states seek to bar potential investigators from gaining employment on farms. As noted above, many successful animal welfare investigations have revealed severe abuses of animals and raised additional concerns about industrial farms, such as the potential contamination of eggs and meat.
[Ag-gag laws are dangerous for at least 6 reasons]: Animal Welfare — Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to animal welfare. […] Food Safety — Ag-gag laws threaten our food supply[…] Control over food choices — Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to marketplace transparency[…] Worker’s rights — This legislation often seeks to criminalize the recording of sounds or images in animal facilities, no matter the content. […] Free Speech — [Ag-Gag bills] pose serious First Amendment threats.[…] Environmental Damage — Undercover investigations offer an effective way to expose [environmental] violations, [and Ag-Gag laws seek to stop them] […]
Ag-gag laws are also troublesome because they do not reflect the public’s will. Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans favor humane treatment of farm animals.[…]
If you live in a state that has introduced an ag-gag measure, please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center online to take action now.
Be vigilant in your state—keep an eye on the local media for any news regarding the introduction and/or progress of ag-gag bills. Talk to your friends and neighbors about why ag-gag legislation is a bad idea.” — http://www.aspca.org/ag-gag
From Iowa State Daily:
“The video is graphic and shows male chicks just hatched being put on conveyer belts, sorted from the females and tossed into grinders alive. The females are debeaked and put in crates to be shipped throughout the states. The newly passed [Iowa Ag-gag law] makes it more difficult for activists to get access undercover to make such videos. “This bill moves this out of the realm civil and into realm of criminal behavior,” Mack said. […] Individuals and groups with animals in mind, such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, are concerned.” — Randi Reeder, http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_f340fa68-7132-11e1-907d-0019bb2963f4.html
“Similar bills have been introduced in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, and New York. Weeks after Iowa passed H.F. 589, Utah enacted an even harsher law to go after undercover reporting of industrial farm abuse.[…]
As the Food Integrity Campaign explains, undercover video is a vital tool for proving allegations of wrongdoing and vindicating whistleblowers. One need only recall ABC’s undercover expose into the Food Lion grocery chain’s unsanitary practices for an example of the public good these investigations can produce. Tellingly, Food Lion responded not by challenging the damaging content of the report but by accusing the undercover reporters of fraud. That case, which involved years of legal battles and court fees, had only the threat of civil penalties—these new [Ag-gag] laws come with potential jail time. The implied threat of legal action will only discourage employees who see problems from standing up to increasingly powerful agriculture business interests. [It is of ethical concern to] protect people from conditions that breed E.coli, salmonella, and unhealthy food [via undercover investigations].” — Joseph Jerome
“It is all too understandable why factory farmers would want to keep hungry eaters in the dark. Research shows that following reports exposing modern animal agriculture, general meat consumption of the public lowers for up to six months. In 2008, Hallmark Meat Packing Company of Chino, California, was shut down after undercover investigations from The Humane Society of the United States brought forth footage depicting workers beating sick cows, striking those too crippled to walk into kill pens, and even ramming animals with forklifts. This company, which recalled 143 million pounds of meat (the largest recall in history) after the USDA saw footage and deemed the meat unfit for human consumption due to lack of complete and proper inspection, was also the nation’s second largest supplier to the National School Lunch Program.[…]
The scariest part of this mess may be the meat industry’s response to the unveiling of norms at factory farms. How does the industry respond to the public slowly being educated on the inhumane and unsanitary ways in which food is raised? Do they work to reform their ways, abolishing each method that adds to the diminishment of nutrition, environmental health, and animal well-being? Nope. Instead they work as fast as they can to cover it all up. Eradicating their factory farms of the disgusting practices shown in undercover footage would mean a complete reform for the entire industry. So instead they work to build a thicker barrier between their everyday practices and public knowledge. It’s got to make you wonder, just what is the industry so desperately trying to hide? […]
The undercover investigations, which sadly are the few accurate illustrations of how our meat is produced, should be lit with a spotlight, free for all to see and learn from, not shut in the dark, covered by corporate interests. Supporters of the bills claim they are necessary for the health and safety of our farms, but if factory farms were properly regulated to be healthy and humane, then there would be no need to conceal these practices. They would welcome the mindful consumer, not criminalize his assets.
These ag-gag laws are an assault on our values and rights as Americans. They are a violation of our first amendment rights to free speech and free press, and they constitute a huge step back from our American principles. If Ag-gag bills continue to pass and make undercover investigations illegal, there is no knowing where this will end.[…] Our basic American principles hold “freedom and justice for all” above all else. Let us defend these values even in the face of large companies whose ties run deep in government. Let us exercise our right to unveil truths, which will be held as self-evident when given the opportunity to transcend. “ — Clare Edwards, intellectualyst.com/ag-gag-laws-a-violation-of-our-rights-as-consumers-and-americans/
One of the things that angers me about our current society is college. I went to college and got a bachelor’s degree just like most people — it was very expensive and very time-consuming. When I began college, I thought it would be worth it. Instead, it turned out to be a total waste of time and money. I now have nearly $30,000 of college loan debt.
Perhaps I wouldn’t have fallen into this “debt trap” if I hadn’t been brainwashed into thinking that college was the “only way” to get ahead. I learned about 2/3 of the way through college that I could’ve decided to take an alternate direction — one in which skills and experience are involved. My college degree does not involve any “skills” or “experience” from the perspective of employers, making me wonder what the point of getting it was in the first place.
Like most college graduates, I have “loan anger” — an anger about being forced to pay huge amounts of money to a corrupt college system. Colleges are greedy businesses — all they want is your money. They can say whatever they want in their propaganda brochures about “enriching” yourself and “challenging” yourself — but the bottom line is that they want your money, because they’re a business.
The college system does not deserve to get any more money from me because the educational experience was not worth the money. In fact, college graduates deserve a refund — in other words, the academic experience was worth far less than the actual price. Making matters worse, federal regulations regarding student loans suck — they are lax and allow colleges to have total control (i.e. extortion) over the price of tuition — which is why college tuition has skyrocketed (it is not regulated enough).
In the future, when college tuition will cost $300,000 per year, people should boycott college at all costs. It isn’t worth the money now and it never will be worth the money and the extremely long period of time required to get a degree. Current colleges, especially expensive “Ivy-League” / Liberal Arts colleges are corrupt and their corruption and extortion must be stopped. College is a scam; don’t fall for it like I did.
Here are some quotes from a book I read called “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat” written by Hal Herzog in 2010:
“But does riding a horse, playing with a dog, or stroking a cat really cure depression?[…] Janell Miner and Brad Lundahl of the University of Utah analyzed the results of 49 published studies […] In most of the studies, the subjects did measurably benefit from interacting with their nonhuman therapists. And, on average, the degree of their improvement was about the same as depressed people get from taking drugs like Prozac.[…]
Of the 65,000 species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians of the planet, only a handful merit much human concern. Why do we care about the giant panda but not the giant salamander, the eagle but not the vulture, the bluebird but not the sparrow, the jaguar but no the Dayak fruit bat? The ways that we think about animals are often determined by species’ characteristics — how attractive the creatures are, their size, the shape of their head, whether they are furry (good) or slimy (bad), and how closely they resemble humans. Too many legs or not enough legs are negatives.[…] What is it about human psychology that makes it so difficult for us to think consistently about animals? The paradoxes that plague our interactions with other species are due to the fact that much of our thinking is a mire of instinct, learning, language, culture, intuition, and our reliance on mental shortcuts.[…]
[Regarding "biophilia"]: Does our innate tendency to be taken by a pair of [cute] oversized eyes affect our attitudes toward the treatment of other species?[…] Our fetish for animals that look like infants comes at a cost. Humans’ love for the cute has produced canine breeds in which full-grown dogs resemble perpetual puppies.[…] [Regarding "biophobia"]: But if people are biophilic towards creatures like puppies and baby seals, they are biophobic towards others — snakes, for instance.[…] Objectively, the fear of snakes among Americans does not make sense. There are only about a dozen snakebite deaths a year in the United States[…] Why are so many Americans afraid of snakes? After all, you are more likely to be killed by a dog than a snake bite.[…] [However], about half of Americans say they are not afraid of snakes, and 400,000 people in the United States keep them as pets. Further, cultures differ in how they treat snakes[…]
The words we use for meat help us avoid thinking about the ethical implications of our diet. It is easier to order a pound of beef from the butcher than a pound of cow.[…] Partisans on both sides of the animal rights debate realize the power of words. In describing the Canadian seal hunt, the government agency that oversees the hunt uses the words “harvest”, “cull”, “management plan”. The language of seal hunt opponents is peppered with hot words: “slaughter”, “massacre”, “atrocity”. What the wildlife managers call the “swimming reflex of dead animals”, the activists refer to as “being skinned alive”.[…] PETA has made millions of Americans aware of the suffering associated with factory farming, hunting, animal research, zoos and circuses; but they have had almost no success in riling up the public about [fish].[…]
[Regarding the execution of crocodile that killed a man]: when I heard about [the incident], the logical part of me though that the execution made no sense. After [the crocodile was shot], Haast’s wife said, ‘the crocodile was just doing what comes naturally to him’. She was right. Still, another part of me, a more primitive part, [thought about retribution]. So did the New York Times editorial writer who described the croc’s death as “emotionally satisfying yet thoroughly irrational”. Was the shooting of the crocodile the right decision? In this situation, should we listen to logic, which says there is no reason to punish a crocodile for acting on its instincts, or to our emotions which cry out for revenge for the death of a child?[…]
[Regarding hypothetical scenario in which a pet dog is killed by a car]: When people are asked if it is permissible for the family to eat their pet, most of them immediately say, ‘NO’. The problem comes when you push them on reasoning — when you ask them to explain exactly why it is wrong to eat an animal that is already dead and obviously incapable of feeling any pain. Most of the time, they simply can’t [justify it]. Hadit calls this “moral dumbfounding”. It’s the Yuck Factor. The act [is perceived as] “disgusting”[…]
[From the chapter "Pet-o-Philia"]: The range of animals that humans have kept as pets is extraordinary — crickets, tigers, pigs, cows, rats, cobras, alligators, giant eels — the list is endless. But when asked what animals they consider pets, most people don’t say eels or crickets. why do they think of? The answer, of course, is dogs and cats[…] The human-pet relationship is going into a new phase. In recent years, pets have come to be regarded as full-fledged family members, a trend that the pet products industry refers to as the humanization of pets. Nowadays, 70% of pet lovers say they sometimes slow their animals to sleep in their bed with them[…] — Hal Herzog, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat
Herzog also describes an experiment (a hypothetical scenario) in which a run-away trolley was going to hit a person unless its course was changed, in which case it would hit a non-human animal. People overwhelmingly supported the “sacrifice the animal” choice, proving that people are arrogant, speciesist and overly anthropocentric in their thinking.
I have only quoted a tiny fraction of the book; the rest can be found (obviously) in the book itself.
Charles Darwin is best known for having described humanity as just another branch of the tree of life, and this is true. Although many people acknowledge the existence of evolution, they continue to do things in very anthropocentric (human-centric) ways — in other words, they seem to accept the biological implications of evolution, yet most have not accepted the philosophical implications of evolution, i.e. that humans are not special are are just a random creation of natural selection based on vast amounts of time and the “survival of the fittest” concept.
I get angry when I hear ignorant religious people claim that “evolution never happened” because “God did it”. This is the kind of crap one would expect to hear from a peasant in the 14th century, not a person from the modern 21st century. Yet these reactionary, dogmatic religious rigidly adhere to their ignorant dogma and continue to preach delusional non-truths about reality.
The fact is, the existence of evolution has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, the HIV virus is proof that evolution exists. In fact, the mutations of the HIV virus allow scientists to see the evolutionary process in a matter of hours. Why? Because different strains of the HIV virus are constantly mutating to change to new environments within the body (i.e. when new drugs are administered). Those strains which cannot tolerate the new drug die out, but the “fittest”, “drug-resistant” strains survive, which is why no effective cure for HIV/AIDS has been found. This is just one of many pieces of evidence which prove the existence of evolution. Anyone who claims evolution “didn’t happen” is ignorant, irrational and delusional.
I’ve mentioned the biological aspect of evolution, so now let me mention the philosophical component, one people tend to overlook. The most obvious people to criticize are those religious-oriented types who outright deny the existence of evolution. But there is another group of people I want to talk about: a group of people which does acknowledge that evolution is real, but that continues to adhere to “pro-human” concepts that people had before the time of Darwin. These people are often biology or medical science graduates who know absolutely everything there is to know about the nuances of microbiology, neurobiology etc. But what they lack is philosophical insight, because the mechanistic courses they took never educated them about philosophy.
These people will say “yes, evolution happened and is currently happening”, but they will then go on to assert that human beings are still superior to other animals, and may even argue that humans are in a completely separate category from animals (even though they admit that humans evolved from animals). So basically, just because a person acknowledges the existence of evolution doesn’t necessarily mean they acknowledge that humans are just another species. These people adhere to “human exceptionalism” a philosophy (which I despise) which allows people to experiment on, kill and dissect animals without ever taking ethics into account; their behavior is “re-enforced” by their pro-human arrogance.
People need to realize that there is nothing special about humans. Yes, humans have flown to the moon. Yes, humans have culture. Yes, humans can solve physics problems and have advanced brains. But this doesn’t make them special, and it does not cause humans to be somehow excluded from the rest of the Animal Kingdom. One of the greatest flaws of the human legal system is that non-human animals are treated as property — this needs to change. The legal system and the moral zeitgeist of modern society erroneously and arrogantly believe that humans are “superior” to other animals, that they are “separate” from other animals, that they have a “divine right” to have “dominion” over them — all of that is bullshit. Humans are animals, and the only reason people have these delusional beliefs is because of the “God Virus” and because people are too ignorant to think for themselves; humanity also has a big ego.
Darwin realized 150 years ago that “human exceptionalism” is crap, and yet many people still adhere to it today. Darwin took the first step of educating society that humans are just “one branch” on the “tree of life” and there is nothing special about humans. Today’s society, especially the scientific community, has accepted Darwin’s evolution ideas — but they have failed to accept the notion that humans are “just another species”. I hope that in the future, humans will stop being so pompous, stop being so anthropocentric and realize how insignificant they are. After all, on a cosmic scale, the Earth is equivalent to a grain of sand on a beach.
After reading this post, it is suggested that you also read the post at the following link: http://vividrandomexistence.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/zoosexuality-should-it-be-considered-acceptable-or-not
A new form of zoosexuality is emerging: the sexual attraction to lizards (in particular, monitor lizards). This attraction is a subcategory of herpetosexuality or herpetophilia, which is a sexual attraction to reptiles in general. As demonstrated by an article on the ZooWiki, large monitor lizards (such as the Nile monitor) are the lizards that herpetosexual zoosexuals are attracted to the most.
Again, as with other herpetophilia-related subjects such as crocodile zoosexuality, I must ask the question of whether sexual activity involving lizards is ethical. Unlike mammals, reptiles such as lizards do not form emotional bonds the same way mammals do. So then I ask this question: is it ethical for a human to have sex with a monitor lizard, even if that lizard only “tolerates” the sex and neither enjoys nor dislikes it?
From a utilitarian perspective (a perspective adopted by philosophers such as Peter Singer), there is nothing wrong with having sex with a monitor lizard, so long as no harm occurs; and that is the question. With large animals like horses, such human-horse sexual interactions are clearly acceptable under this philosophy — for example, even if a horse has a neutral opinion regarding sexual encounter with a human, the fact that the horse is larger than the human automatically means that physical “abuse” is less likely to occur to the horse; in fact, as the 2005 Kenneth Pinyan incident proves, humans are often more likely to be injured in such activity, not the horses.
If one accepts the fact that it is OK for a lizard to “tolerate” a human-lizard and not have any strong feelings about it, then the question is of whether lizards are physically compatible with humans. As stated in a prior post, the smaller the animal is, the less ethical the activity becomes. Based on maximum adult growth, it is reasonable to assume that fully-grown Nile monitor lizards, Nile monitor lizards and Komodo Dragons would be large enough to accommodate human genitalia; however, sexual activity with any lizards of a smaller size would and should be considered unethical, due to the likelihood of harm occurring and the lack of anatomical compatibility between humans and small lizards.
According to people on Internet forums, the majority of lizard-oriented zoosexual encounters seem to involve male humans penetrating monitor lizards; there seem to be fewer human females who are lizard zoosexuals. However, when it comes to general herpetophilia and herpetosexuality (i.e. all reptiles), the gender difference in unclear. Herpetophiles sometimes fantasize about sexual encounters with dinosaurs.
I am trying to come up with a method which could be described as “How to defeat a taboo”. A taboo subject which I have discussed in detail is the taboo of zoosexuality — sex with animals. As I have said before, much of that taboo is caused by irrational religious beliefs and arrogant religious dogmas. Because these religious teachings are so human-centric (anthropocentric) and speciesist, it is not surprising that they condemn zoosexuality. They believe in “human exceptionalism”, the atrocious and fallacious belief that humans are “above” other animals. They also condemn it because they are ignorant and they fear things they don’t understand.
The best way to defeat a taboo is to spread awareness of the taboo subject and to make it more “discussable” in main-stream everyday conversations. In other words, if a normal group of people can carry out a normal conversation about bestiality and zoosexuality without anyone raising their eyebrows or getting on their moral high-horse, then that is a sign that it has lost its taboo.
But that is not the case, at least not now — people do not expect bestiality to be brought up in everyday conversation, and when someone does, they are seen as weird or eccentric. That is what needs to change. In order to eradicate the zoophilia taboo, zoosexual people need to get together and voice their opinions. People need to stop being reactionary (i.e. reacting to bestiality with shock, disgust and repugnance). People need to be educated about why zoosexuality is harmless to society as a whole, the fact that there are millions of innocent zoosexual people hiding in the closet, and the fact that most human-animal sexual interactions are not abusive. Finally, another component of making bestiality less taboo is to convince the majority of society that the “zoophobes” (i.e. the zoophile haters) are in the wrong (in the same way that people with “homophobia” are now seen as “in the wrong”).
I also want to briefly discuss what I read in a book called The God Virus, by Darrel W. Ray. It says that people’s religious beliefs are part of a “virus” — for example, the best interest of the “family unit” is to propagate the virus (and the best interest is not to stop things like teen pregnancy). Here is a quote from that book:
“Modern, highly evolved religions propagate best in a sex-negative environment to maximize viral control over the family unit and to guarantee efficient propagation. The alleged focus on the family is really focus on the god virus. Indeed, the virus will disband the family to preserve its ability to propagate. Do not be fooled by the words; look at the effects of a given behavior from opposition to birth control to guilt in the bedroom, the viral purpose is propagation — not the happiness of its victims. The virus is so powerful that it can literally shut down sex drive and reproduction, as in nuns and priests or married couples that severely restrict their sexual practices. Sex-positive god viruses are rare and getting more so with the invasion of the powerful sex-negative western religions. Take a good look at yourself, and you may find a surprising amount of residual indoctrination in your behavior.” — The God Virus by Darrel Ray, p. 116
Basically, the “God Virus” deliberately controls people’s sexuality and creates a sex-negative environment — this applies to most of the mainstream religions, such as Christianity (particularly Catholicism), Islam, and Hinduism; there are some religions (like Paganism) which it doesn’t really apply to. But ultimately, the “sexual control” part of the God virus does apply to the world’s largest religions, such as Christianity and Islam.
A “sex negative” environment is an environment in which sexuality is shunned, condemned, and seen as something “sinful”. A “sex-negative” environment is also an environment in which people act squeamish about sex, prohibit people from enjoying sex, and generally have an atmosphere of hostility towards sexuality in general. In my opinion, the sex-negative philosophy is a really bad philosophy. Why? Because it denies a natural animal component of humans (sexuality), causing people to become mentally ill. One of the primary reasons for the success of irrational religious sexual control in our society is because of guilt. By making people feel guilty, the “God Virus” is able to ensure that people will follow its rigid anti-natural code of sexual prohibition.
Unfortunately, society as we know it today is very sex-negative. There were once far more sex-positive environments. For example, in Hawaii (prior to the arrival of Europeans), sex was considered a normal part of life, people were open about it, and it wasn’t considered “sinful”. Now such environments
are hard to come by because they have been take over by the abominable Euro-Asian “sex-negative” values, which value “anti-nature” and complete obedience to irrational religious dogmas.
If there’s one thing people should be aware of concerning sexuality, it is that religion acts as a virus and contaminates the cerebral cortex of people by artificially controlling their sexuality, an aspect of their body which has naturally formed from millions of years of evolution. It is atrocious to force a stupid religious belief onto a person’s own body, and to make them feel guilty about their body. In our newly-emerging secular age, people are beginning to see how ridiculous these religious beliefs are. Maybe one day, we will have a sex-positive environment like the pre-European Hawaiians or the Ancient Greeks; that is the way it should be.
And finally, people should decide for themselves whether something is “immoral” or not; they should not allow religion to tell them what is and is not moral.
Florida is a wonderful state, especially due to its ecological treasures. So it is tragic that the politicians have created so many bad laws in that state. Laws are a distinctively human concept, and have nothing to do with the ecology of the states — humans are the ones who created them, not nature.
Some laws are justified — laws against robbery, murder, identity theft, arson, animal slaughter, really bad drugs like heroin — these are all justified laws that have logical reasons behind them. These are not the laws I am talking about — I am talking primarily about irrational laws (laws which are not logically sound).
It has come to my attention that Florida has a ton of irrational laws, many of which were created within the last 5 years. Here are some of the ignorant and unjustified new restrictions in Florida:
RESTRICTIONS ON SEXUALITY
Gay marriage ban — Gay marriage was constitutionally banned in Florida within the past decade. Gay people are not treated fairly in Florida. In addition, there is no recognition of same-sex unions. (Kind of prejudicial and intolerant if you ask me).
Zoosexuality ban — Bestiality, zoophilia, and zoosexuality were banned in Florida by arrogant and self-righteous politican Nan Rich in 2011. Nan Rich went on a crusade to outlaw what she perceived to be “immoral” and “disgusting” behavior (human-animal sex), and tried year after year to pass the unfair ban on bestiality until she succeeded in 2011. This law is unjustified, unfair, and discriminatory. It makes it possible to prosecute someone even when no harm occurred, which is bulls**t. It forces people’s “moral prejudice” onto a small, defenseless minority of people, who will have to hide in the shadows to avoid prosecution.
See this link: Common arguments against zoosexuality and why they fail. Also see this link about zoophilia.
Marijuana ban — There are no pro-marijuana policies in Florida. Marijuana has not been de-criminalized, and there are no medical marijuana laws. Yet another example of how Florida politicians want to restrict people’s personal liberties.
It is ironic that in Florida it is legal to buy and use tobacco cigarettes, even though cigarettes are more harmful than marijuana. Similarly, alcohol is also more deadly than marijuana, yet alcohol is legal in Florida but marijuana isn’t (pure hypocrisy).
EXOTIC PET RESTRICTIONS
Python ban — In 2010, Florida politicians passed an unfair law prohibiting people from owning Burmese pythons as “pets” — this is a law which I strongly disagree with. Ignorant politician Tom Rooney was behind it. The law was supposed to deal with the “problem” of invasive pythons in the Everglade (see this post about why pythons in the Everglades is not a “problem”). Humans are so arrogant — they call Burmese pythons an invasive species even though humans are themselves an invasive species. Pythons have the same right to live in Florida that humans do.
And on top of that, it is unfair to ban pythons in Florida because it unfairly punishes responsible snake owners, who would never release their python into the wild. To ban all pet Burmese pythons is economically damaging to snake dealers, and is a slap in the face to responsible snake owners. It needs to be repealed ASAP. This is another example of the Florida state government overstepping its authority.
“Baggy pants” ban — In 2011, a law was made prohibiting “baggy pants” at schools. This is another example of how Florida politicians are trying to restrict people’s freedom of expression. It is also an example of how arrogant Florida politicians make laws which conform to their “traditional, modest values” by imposing unfair restrictions on what they consider to be “indecent” and “immoral”.
In terms of the protection of people’s individual liberties, Florida is a complete failure, thanks to ignorant politicians like Tom Rooney and Nan Rich. There are a high number of laws which punish people for victimless “crimes”. There are real crimes which people should be focused on, like robbery, murder and animal slaughter; instead, the ignorant politicians of Florida have decided to waste their time by getting into people’s personal business and interfering with their lives. Florida is not the place for a libertarian to live (i.e. Ron Paul).
It has become clear to me that the Florida state government has become way to authoritarian. I encourage people living in Florida to vote out the assholes in charge right now and elect more sensible people (people that won’t interfere with the private affairs of citizens). If this cannot be done, there needs to be more activism to repeal the abominable laws listed above. They are not just “laws”, they are “fear-mongering moral prejudice laws”.
Maybe “Occupy Wall Street” protesters should turn their attention towards Florida. Florida politicians may think what they’re doing is “moral”, but in reality what they’re doing is very immoral because they are restricting people’s personal liberties (i.e. in terms of personal liberties in which no harm occurred [the utilitarian perspective]). All I have to say is that I am glad I don’t live in Florida.
It is suggested that you also read this post: http://vividrandomexistence.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/zoosexuality-should-it-be-considered-acceptable-or-not/
Over time, it has come to my attention that although I am a zoosexual vegetarian, there seem to be very few people out there who are like me. One would think that because zoosexuals love animals, they would thus not eat meat, since eat meat implies that one does not care about the lives of some animals. Yet (per evidence on Beastforum.com) there are apparently plenty of zoosexuals who eat meat, which frustrates me and puzzles me.
I find myself in an odd situation — if I go to an online vegetarian discussion group and talk to them about zoosexuality and bestiality, they will likely react with ignorance and “shock” and go on a “witch hunt” to remove me from their discussion. On the other hand, if I tried to bring up pro-vegetarianism ideas on a zoosexual forum such as Beastforum.com, it is likely to be met with scorn by all of the fiercely anti-PETA, pro-meat-eating people on Beastforum. As it stands, I am stuck in the middle; I am a zoosexual vegetarian, but most pro-vegetarians reject zoosexuality, and most pro-zooseuxals reject vegetarianism.
So what is a vegetarian zoosexual like me to do? Surely there must be other people out there who are both zoosexual and vegetarian. Why? The two ideas compliment each other. The ideal of a zoosexual is to love animals. What better a way to love all animals than to become a vegetarian or vegan? It really bothers me when people say “I’m OK eating the flesh of a cow, but not the flesh of a dog because I love dogs”. Why does this bother me? Because that person should respect the lives of both the cow and the dog. It is unjust to assume that a dog’s life is more valuable than a cow’s life; both lives are valuable. In reality, there is no “hierarchy” of animals — all animal’s lives are valuable. When a person says “I love my dog, but I also love eating steak”, that person is a total hypocrite.
On the other hand, here is something that is not hypocritical: being vegetarian and owning a meat-eating dog. Why? Because humans can see the “big picture” and philosophize about whether or not to eat meat, whereas dogs cannot do this. The moral and ethical questions which come into play
for humans do not come into play for dogs, so it is not a contradiction for a vegetarian to own a meat-eating dog. However, it is possible for a vegetarian to give a dog (or other animal) a vegetarian diet; dogs do not need to be meat-eaters. And contrary to popular belief, dogs do not suffer from “malnutrition” due to lack of meat; in fact, one dog (who was on a vegetarian diet) lived to be 27 years old.
In addition, it is not hypocritical to be a vegetarian, but not a complete vegan. I consider myself to be a vegetarian who is leaning towards veganism (for example, I drink soymilk instead of dairy milk). However, ultimately I consider myself to be in the same category as Peter Singer: I am
a vegetarian who is a partial vegan. This is a lot better than not being a vegetarian in the first place. A person who eats no meat is being a lot nicer to the environment than a person who does eat meat.
All people (whether they eat meat or not) should lessen the amount of meat they consume — it is more ethical, it is more environmentally friendly, and it is healthier to not eat meat. It also shows that you have a profound compassion for other animals, and it shows that you understand that other animals have a right to live out their entire lives (rather than being slaughtered in a barbaric factory).
As I said before, it is unethical for a person to love one kind of animal (i.e. a horse) while being OK with the slaughter of another kind (i.e. a pig). Such people are hypocrites. Additionally, people who say “I eat meat and try not think about how the meat got to my plate” are also hypocrites. It is imperative that people realize the abominable truth of how that meat got to one’s plate. The notion that non-human animals are “disposable commodities” is speciesist and anthropocentric. (Speciesism = failure to accord any non-human being equal consideration and respect). People in slaughterhouses don’t treat animals as beings with their own rights, they treat them as objects (property) to be exploited as much as possible. And they don’t care about the pain and suffering animals get.
Now, many pro-meat-eaters are going to argue the “humane slaughter” card. Let me briefly explain why “humane slaughter” doesn’t make any sense. Here is a hypothetical situation:
A person has the choice of doing the following:
1) Humanely slaughtering a human or other animal
2) Not humanely slaughtering a human or other animal
3) Not slaughtering a human or other animal AT ALL
My choice would be #3, and I would hope that most people would choose #3. Why? Because the murder of human should be considered equal to the killing of a non-human animal. The only reason this is not the view of our legal system is because our legal system is severely tainted by speciesism and anthropocentrism; from the point of view of our legal system, humans are “superior” to all other animals, which is bullsh*t. My point here is this: if a person goes out and kills another person, that person is a murderer (except in the case of the death penalty). However, if a person goes out and kills another animal, it is not considered murder (even though it should be considered murder). The range of penalties for killing a non-human animal range from a little bit of prison time (i.e. killing an animal that humans “like” such as a dog) to no penalty at all (i.e. those who are working in institutionalized slaughter factories). This needs to stop.
What I am trying to say is that “humane slaughter” is not a valid argument. Just as a person shouldn’t “humanely slaughter” a human, a person should also not “humanely slaughter” any other kind of animals. All individuals (both human and non-human) have a right to live, and no animal (human or non-human) should be forced to get an early death. Yet that is what happens to billions of animals every year. In one decade, one trillion non-human animals are killed for selfish human purposes, and those “purposes” are often backed up by delusional religious beliefs or the delusional belief that it is OK to “humanely slaughter” an animal. The fact is, “humanely slaughtering” an animal is still slaughter, and it still shortens the lifespan of an animal. Humans should be allowed to live to old
age, and so should animals.
Another card meat-eaters play is the “natural” card — the argument that because meat-eating is “natural”, it justifies their eating meat. While it is true that humans are naturally omnivores, humans (unlike other animals) have the capacity to choose their own destiny — and in this case, that “destiny” would be not eating meat. Although one can make the argument that literally everything in existence is “natural”, keep in mind that a subcategory of “natural” is “artificial” — i.e. anything that a human makes. So although massive slaughterhouses which kill billions of animals are “natural” in the sense that they are made by yet another evolutionary animal (humans), the facts is that because they were made by humans (i.e. artificial) it is a stretch to call such institutions “natural”. It is also a stretch to claim that 7 billion animals (humans) taking total control of the planet as “natural”. In any case, I believe that humans have lost their “right” to eat meat due to their selfishness and the suffering they have caused to the non-human animals of the Earth. A lion in Africa has not lost its “right” to kill and eat its prey because there aren’t 7 billion lions who are killing their prey (in the billions) in industrialized factories. Lions also rely on instinct, and not on arrogant philosophies like “human exceptionalism” — this is yet another reason why lions have a “right” to kill and eat their prey while humans have lost that “right”; humans are just too damn smart for their own good.
The best option would be to forbid killing and/or eating meat altogether; but if this cannot be done, the next best option would be to heavily regulate it and tax it (as is done with tobacco). The extra money would go towards animal welfare and programs which educate people about the cruelty that goes on behind closed doors.
In a previous post, I mentioned how the mechanized, industrialized assembly lines of death present in the WWII holocaust are similar to the industrialized assembly lines of death present in the current animal slaughtering institutions. Obviously the motivations behind both holocausts are different, but the outcome is similar — the mass slaughter of millions of beings. (Actually, in the case of the “animal holocaust”, you would have to change the word “millions” to “billions”.) This analogy is not meant to “offend” people, it is designed to show how the cruelty of humanity continues to live on, in the form of torturing non-human animals.
Just remember: no animal (human or non-human) should be considered “disposable”, and no animal should have to deal with pain and suffering. There are 7 billion people on Earth — this is yet another reason people should stop eating meat (there are too many of us). People “compensated” for the overpopulation by making their methods of killing “crueler”, “more efficient” and “mechanized” in order to satisfy the selfish needs of billions of arrogant, religiously-driven people.
And, as I have said before, people (especially those who eat meat) should feel a moral obligation to feed their remains to animals after they die. After all, if a person eats meat their entire lives (thus stealing nutrients from others), it is only fair to give those nutrients back to the animals.
I also wish more people would have bumper stickers that say “I hate people who hate PETA”. Why? Because I’m so tired of PETA bashers with their “People Eating Tasty animals” bullsh*t. To be clear, the majority of people on Beastforum (a zoosexual site) seem to be strongly anti-PETA and love to bash PETA. Yes, I am aware of their flaws — some PETA members are opposed to bestiality, and PETA does overreact from time to time. But the criticisms of the “PETA haters” are far harsher than they need to be. I feel sometimes that people love to bash PETA just for the sake of bashing PETA. They also bash PETA because of PETA “myths” (i.e. the myth that PETA wants all people to “free” their pets). This is not their opinion — they actually are OK with there being “animal guardians” — what they don’t like is when people put large animals into “prisons” (i.e. killer whales at SeaWorld).
PETA-haters are prejudicial people just like any kind of prejudicial group — in this case they are extremely intolerant of vegetarians and PETA supporters. I myself am not a full PETA supporter, but I do support some of their beliefs. Although I dislike some of PETA’s views, I really dislike the PETA-haters, who smugly eat their steak while screaming insults at vegetarians.
Here are two quotes I found:
“I used to be a huge meat lover. I grew up eating lots of meat everyday and never thought anything of it. I always loved animals growing up and loved to be in the company of cats/dogs. I have always felt I had a special connection with animals, but I didn’t realize I was actually a zoophile until recently, when I absolutely fell in love with a beautiful collie bitch. I love everything about her and I know she loves me back. I feel more attracted to her than any human girl I’ve known.
Being in love with an animal really made me question meat-eating. I’ve always justified meat-eating by putting humans on a higher plane than animals, but being in love with a dog completely changed that view. In some parts of the world, eating dog meat is considered acceptable. Although I would have never even considered eating dog (or cat) meat back when I was a meat-eater, I now had to question myself whether cows were sufficiently different from dogs to a degree such that I could justify eating a cow, but not a dog. The only answer I could come up with was “no” so I literally became a vegetarian overnight. Since that day I haven’t eaten any meat at all even though I’m a former steak-lover. Such is the power of my emotions towards animals.” — http://www.beastforum.com/showtopic-137453.html
“There might be something about loving animals, both as friend and erotically, and respecting ALL animals by not eating their meat. After all, zoophilia means the love for animals. How can we as Zoos say we love animals when we just pick and choose which animals we love? Something to think about.” — Dogssup, http://dogssup.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-03-08T14:17:00-05:00&max-results=7
In the meantime, I do not know what to do in terms of my zoosexual vegetarianism, since most people are either zoosexual or vegetarian (or neither), and pro-vegetarians are likely to reject my beliefs (because of their anti-zoosexual beliefs), and pro-zoosexuals are likely to reject my
beliefs (because of their anti-vegetarian beliefs). I can only hope that more people will come to understand the utilitarian ideas that both me and Peter Singer adhere to, and then become a vegetarian zoosexual.
Ultimately, I may never know the reason why there are so few vegetarian zoosexuals. I also may never fully understand why there are people out there who are both zoosexual and yet also eat meat. In my opinion: if an animal is capable of being a sexual partner, it should not be killed and used for meat. This includes dogs, cows, pigs, goats, and many other animals which are slaughtered for food.
I also want to add the following: for centuries, there were traditions (such as slavery and Chinese foot-binding) which originally were considered to be “moral”, but are now considered immoral. I find it frustrating and disturbing that the majority of people in our society think that killing and eating billions of animals is morally acceptable. Animal slaughtering should be in the same “immoral” category as slavery and foot-binding.
I also want to point out that both vegetarians and zoosexuals (represented in the ven diagram above) are minority groups; not only that, but they are both minority groups that have social stigma attached to them. For example, people erroneously believe that zoosexuals are “disgusting” and “perverted”, and people erroneously believe that vegetarians are “weak”. Because society has such prejudices against both vegetarians and zoosexuals, it makes things twice as difficult when a person (such as myself) is both vegetarian AND zoosexual. Why? Because you are constantly being criticized not only by the anti-vegetarians, but also the anti-zoosexuals. You have to deal with twice the hatred and ignorance.
It is sad that vegetarians and zoosexuals are looked down upon by society, and it is sad that they are outcasts. That is why I am so vociferous about this issue: I am tired of seeing aggressive anti-vegetarians make personal attacks against vegetarians (and the vegetarians don’t fight back); and I am tired of seeing aggressive anti-zoosexuals make personal attacks against zoosexuals. I want people’s perceptions to change: zoosexuals should no longer been seen as “weird” and “disgusting”, and vegetarians should no longer be seen as “weak”. Ultimately, I’m tired of vegetarians and zoosexuals being ridiculed for their beliefs.
Many people will say “I have a choice to eat meat”, and they are correct; in today’s screwed-up society, it is socially and legally acceptable to slaughter animals and eat meat, but consider this: imagine there is a strongly anti-slavery man in the U.S. South in the early 19th century. He goes up to a slave owner and says “you must stop owning slaves, what you are doing is morally wrong”. The slave owner then turns his head and says to the man, “Shut up, I have a choice to own slaves. Plus, the people in my community approve of my slave ownership and the law allows me to own slaves, so why should I have to listen to you?”
And that is what I’m talking about. I bring up the slavery analogy because it gets to the point of what I’m saying: when it comes to libertarianism, I fully agree that a person has a right to smoke marijuana or a right to be a prostitute or what ever else they want to do, so long as no harm is involved. Although I agree with the libertarian spirit, there are things I disapprove of due the harm they cause: killing a person, killing a non-human animal, slavery — these are all things I disapprove of because of the harm they cause. And certainly the current massive slaughter industry is causing cruelty, suffering and harm on a massive scale (yet being quietly hidden from the public). In the case of both slavery and animal slaughter, harm is involved and is thus morally unacceptable. Today, if a slave owner tried to own slaves, he wouldn’t get away with it. And in the future, I hope people who slaughter animals and eat their meat won’t get away with it either. Maybe then people will be intelligent enough to treat non-human animals with the same respect and consideration they give humans.
Although my views may seem extreme by the standards of today’s society, remember that the views of the early 19th century anti-slavery person were seen as extreme by the standards of the early 19th century society (in the U.S. South). Just as slavery ended up being viewed by society as barbaric, I hope that eventually society will come to view our current system of animal slaughtering as barbaric. Eventually, my views on vegetarianism and zoosexuality, which seem extreme by today’s standards, may be the “norm” in the future.