MN ‘ag-gag’ bill has died

On May 10, 2012, the Minnesota Legislature adjourned, marking the end of the 2011-2012 biennium. Minnesota’s ‘ag-gag’ bill was introduced in April, 2011, but did not progress during the biennium. Strong opposition, from many sectors in Minnesota, contributed to the demise of this legislation.

Thank you to all of you who contacted your Minnesota legislators in opposition to the ag-gag bill!
Undercover investigations will not be banned in Minnesota

May 10, 2012- The bills that would make it a crime to videotape and to show footage shot inside puppy and kitten mills and factory farms (SF 1118/HF 1369) were introduced in April 2011. The bills encountered stiff opposition from the media, the public, and many animal advocacy organizations, and did not advance during the 2011-2012 biennium. Read more here.

Bills similar to the one introduced in Minnesota have been introduced in states around the country (and passed in Iowa and Utah). This underscores the need for continued vigilance in Minnesota. If you have not yet, please take the time to let your state legislators know you oppose this type of legislation: Sign the online petition to keep humane undercover investigations legal in Minnesota.

Sparboe Farm Investigation

In 2011, Minnesota- based egg producer Sparboe Farms was the subject of an undercover investigation. Mercy for Animals’ investigation at several Sparboe farms in MN, IA, and CO, revealed unsanitary conditions and animal welfare concerns that prompted two responses.

First, companies, including McDonald’s, Target, Lunds, Byerly’s, and Sams’ Club severed their relationship with the supplier, thereby improving upon the safety of the food they were selling to consumers. Second, Sparboe Farms was prompted to conduct internal reviews and initiate worker trainings with the intention of improving animal welfare at its facilities.

The Sparboe Farms investigation is a local, timely, and important reminder of the importance of undercover investigations. These investigations help protect the safety of the food supply and the welfare of animals, and should not be made illegal.

Kathy Bauck Investigation

Photo courtesy of CAPS

The Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) has done extensive investigation, including undercover investigation, into the owner and operator of Pick of the Litter in Minnesota, Kathy Bauck. As a result of their undercover investigation in spring 2008, which showed sick, wounded, emaciated and dying dogs, a jury convicted Bauck in 2009 of animal cruelty and torture. In 2011 the United States Department of Agriculture permanently revoked her federal license.

The Bauck investigation is an example of how undercover investigations in Minnesota have exposed cruelty to animals that otherwise may have remained hidden. It reinforces the case that these types of investigations play a crucial role in protecting animal welfare, and should not be made illegal.

What is the ag-gag bill?

Senate File 1118 and House File 1369, also called Minnesota’s ‘ag-gag’ bills, would criminalize blowing the whistle on animal cruelty, food safety problems, or labor or environmental abuses inside puppy and kitten mills or factory farms by making it a crime to take video inside such facilities, or even for the news media to possess or distribute these images. Read more about MN’s ag-gag bill here.

Thanks to the advocacy of thousands of Minnesotans who spoke out against the ag-gag bill, the 2011-2012 legislative session has come to a close without any action taken on the bills since their introduction in April, 2011. Thank you!