Thursday, 1 March 2012

Should farmers let the community in or keep them out?

The issue of animal visibility has been very much in the news over the last couple of days.

In the USA the number of anti-animal activists laws continues to grow with Iowa's 'Ag gag' legislation all but written into law http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/ag-gag-bills-stop-undercover-animal-abuse-investigations/story?id=15816805#.T07vvFEw9Bk. That law will make it an offence for members of animal groups to apply for jobs in factory farms without declaring their affiliation. The aim is to stop secret filming inside factory farms; footage which is later broadcast on television.

It is interesting that the land of free speech is putting so much energy into stopping people from learning where the meat, egg and diary comes from. It also tells us that farmers have something to be worried about. The community does not support animal suffering and it would seem that when you film inside a factory farm you capture images that the community finds disturbing.

At the same time, in Australia, Animals Australia has called for CCTV in slaughterhouses. There is divided opinion on whether this is a good thing or not, and the ABC's Bush Telegraph aired the issues in an interesting debate http://www.abc.net.au/rural/content/2012/s3442487.htm.

Some agricultural producers have started using the technology. Others are very resistant. Of course, this all begs the question: among those who are resistant, what do they have to hide?

My view is that enough members of the community care deeply about animals to such an extent that they will be willing to put themselves at risk to expose suffering. I think that things such as the 'Ag gag' bill will not be strong deterrents.

For more information about my views on animals, visibility and the agriculture sector see my book 'Animals, Equality and Democracy' http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=393597. You can read the introduction online for free!

No comments:

Post a Comment