Blocking ‘ag gag’ laws may prolong abuse

Growing up on a farm, one of my biggest responsibilities was tending to the animals in our family’s care. At times livestock can be unpredictable in ways that are both amusing and frustrating, but much like a parent cares for thUeir child I cannot think of a moment that my top priority was not in the best interest of our animals and our land.

That is not saying that our livestock always respond in a positive manner to our practices. They are not capable of understanding how regular occurrences on the farm like vaccinations are for their benefit. I often wonder how others would respond if video’s and pictures were shared out of context while I was caring for our animals. I am not alone; several other farmers and ranchers across the country have had fears of “undercover” videos that only share part of the story, often out of context, from their farm.

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Animals can do silly things at times

This fear has led to proposed legislation in several states that make it illegal for video to be filmed on farms without the knowledge of the owner. In several ways this makes total sense as a farm is private property, placing undercover video in a farmer’s barn without permission is not much different than placing a hidden camera in the privacy of somebody’s home without their knowledge. However, I am not a fan of these types of laws. They reduce transparency and make others question some very good practices that farmers utilize today to care for their livestock.

Today on The Ellen Show CEO of The Humane Society of The United States (HSUS) Wayne Pacelle discussed these proposed bills calling them “Ag Gag bills.” He compared them to the recent bombings in Boston, stating that if it were not for citizens rights to film video during the marathon police may still be looking for those responsible. While this is true, it is also true that if anyone had evidence that the bombings were being planned and didn’t report it they can be charged an accomplice.

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About Mike Haley

Mike Haley is the 5th generation to farm their family farm in Ohio. Currently he farms alongside his father Steve and wife Pam. On their farm they raise corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and purebred Simmental cattle.
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