I have started a petition to the PA House. Please consider signing it:
PA House Bill 683 (HB683: Haluska, Metzgar, Barrar, M. K. Keller, Hess, Moul, Fleck, C. Harris And Murt, February 12, 2013), like similar legislation in other US states, is not well-thought out. It will limit whistle-blowing, and keep the public unaware of food safety problems, animal abuse and poor/dangerous working conditions on factory farms. It’s benefit to our food safety and farm workers is unclear.
The more nefarious sections of HB683 appear to be almost copied and pasted from the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) model bill entitled the “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act.” You be the judge:
Web text of PA HB683:
Web text of ALEC model bill Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act, Appendix A, page 21:
Remember the 2008 investigation of a dairy cow slaughter plant in Chino, California? It prompted the largest meat recall in U.S. history, identified fraud on the federal government’s school lunch program, and resulted in criminal convictions. HB683 would criminalize only the workers who expose such crimes. HB683 would do nothing to protect We The People from the cruelty, contaminants, and fraud.
Further, with the increase in gas drilling in PA, HB683 is doubly troubling: Line 9 on page 1 defines the proposed second and third degree felonies as those “Interfering with agricultural operations.” But Lines 9-11 on page 3 too broadly define “Agricultural operations” as “Any public or private property where an agricultural activity or farming is conducted or takes place.” This includes the sites of much of PA’s gas drilling, storage and transfer activities. Citizen activism is an increasingly important tool for We The People to find out about gas-related crimes and pollution. HB683 would seemingly outlaw reporting on these threats to our air, water and dirt.
HB683 is before the House Judiciary Committee, on which local (south central PA) Reps Marsico, Grell and Delozier sit. If one of them is your Rep, please tell them NO on HB683.
In “Taping of Farm Cruelty Is Becoming the Crime”, Published by the New York Times: April 6, 2013 we read how the intent of these ALEC-modeled bills is already law in Iowa, Utah and Missouri:
“At the first sign of animal cruelty, we’d have to pull our investigator out, and we wouldn’t be able to build a case that leads to charges,” said Matt Dominguez, who works on farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States.
For all PA people: I have started a petition to the PA House. Please consider signing it:
How important is it to stop this? MT, UT, ND, KS, IA and MO have already banned the rights of its citizens to whistle blow on anything occurring on “farmlands”. Let’s not be next: