Missouri Rep. McCreery Offers Legislative Counter-Attack to So-Called “Ag Gag” LawsPosted on April 18, 2012
Amendment Based on Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Proposed “Protect Your Food” Act Offers First-of-its-Kind Legislative Strike Against Laws that Chill Whistleblowing on Farms
For immediate release
Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund
Jefferson City, Mo.– Yesterday, Rep. Tracy McCreery, an Independent representing District 83 (St. Louis County) offered a version of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s “Protect Your Food” Act as an amendment to HB 1860, the omnibus ag bill currently being debated. McCreery’s amendment would have prohibited the state from purchasing food from jurisdictions that have so-called “ag gag” laws. Ag gag laws, versions of which have recently passed in Iowa and Utah, make it illegal to photograph or videotape at agricultural facilities, or to possess or distribute such evidence–with the goal of quieting whistleblowers and eliminating access to critical evidence of food safety violations and other abuses. Currently a few ag gag type provisions being considered in Missouri, including an ag gag provision within HB 1860 itself.
This was the first introduction in any state capital of this potential legislative remedy that states can enact to protect their citizens by prohibiting the state from purchasing potentially-dangerous food products from jurisdictions that pass ag gag laws. “I’m uncomfortable passing special protections for industries that prevent light being shown on food safety concerns, environmental issues, and cruelty to animals,” says McCreery.” We want to encourage honesty without fear.” The amendment did not pass, but if reelected, McCreery plans to pre-file a complete version of ALDF’s Protect Your Food Act on December 1.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Protect Your Food campaign launched in February as a way to gather grassroots support for legislative ag gag counter-strikes such as McCreery’s amendment. “Under the guise of property rights, ag gag bills are intended to prevent consumers from ever seeing the animal abuse, contaminated crops, illegal working conditions, and risky food safety practices–the sort that result in massive food safety recalls and all too frequently lead to outbreaks of food-borne illness–that are common practice behind factory farm gates,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We are delighted to support McCreery’s vanguard efforts to oppose these insidious laws.”