“Ag-Gag”: Scaremongering or Legitimate Concerns

Ag-gag. Scaremongering or legitimate concern
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A little over two months ago I wrote a piece saying that as far as I was concerned, I believed that so-called ‘ag-gag’ laws would be the best thing that could happen to the animal advocacy movement as it would change the focus from treatment to use of other animals.

Since then, more and more ‘animal advocates’ have started to fly the anti ‘ag-gag’ flag.

Even though they are starting to sound like chicken little with their endless preaching of doom and gloom the reality of things is more then a little different to what we are being told.

Sure the media and politicians are branding talk of draft bills as ag-gag, though that hardly means that they are. We all know that sensationalism is what the media thrives on, and politicians only respond to that which will get them votes and time in the media.

That being said, and understanding that both sides will say whatever will get them the most publicity, it is time to sort out fact from fiction

Activists Are Not A Law Unto Themselves.

First and foremost, we need to realise that those new laws have come about because ‘activists’ are ignoring the laws that we currently have.

Despite whatever altruistic reasons are being given for breaking the law, the law is still broken.

If these people are willing to break the law with trespass and property damage to get incriminating evidence, where will they draw the line?

On the other side of the coin, seeing as digital piracy is another issue that is gaining attention, I am sure that these activists wouldn’t mind if a farmer broke in a placed a camera above the area where they use their computer to ensure that have purchased the correct licenses for the software they are using.

After all, fair is fair.

Disregard For Animal Safety

Supposedly these people who break into these farms are doing so because they have a great love for animals. If this is so, I wonder how many of them take proper biosecurity precautions?

youtube clip posted by former vegan idol John Sakars when he broke into two piggeries during his Australian holiday last year clearly shows that he hasn’t.

With the footage that these groups use being received anonymously, how can anyone be sure that the correct protocols have been followed?

Regardless of whether they are thought to be extreme or not, most biosecurity protocols are there to protect the animals as much as those on the farm itself. Just like those annoying seat belt laws and speed limits on our roads.

How do you know if the cold or sniffles that you have won’t infect the pigs in the farm that you are going to? Or likewise if you spent time on another farm a few days ago, could you be spreading some other bug or germ?

If activists fail to follow protocols that are put in place to protect the animals, then the question needs to be asked about why they are doing it in the first place.

Animals BEFORE Profit

Why does the release of undercover footage always have to coincide with a new campaign?

I honestly thought that these groups were about protecting other animals, not raising money or increasing membership.

If these groups are profiting off the misery and poor treatment of other animals via increased membership, donations, or brand awareness, are they really any better than those they are supposed to be condemning?

That being said, can any of us really blame politicians or industry for getting upset when footage is aired and promoted as being current when it is weeks, months or years old?

Legislation Keeping Up With Technology

Despite what we are being told, the anti-surveillance legislation isn’t being created to deliberately target these ‘activists’. The reality is that it is simply legislation catching up with technology.

With most jurisdictions having laws regarding the use of voice recording technology, it was time that the recording of images caught up. We know a private conversation cannot be recorded without one of the involved parties being aware of the recording, so why should video footage be any different?

Animal Protection Not Misery Promotion

You seriously have to wonder about the ethics and morality of an organisation that holds on to footage for any period of time before releasing it.

Those of us that follow Rule #39 There’s No Such Thing As A Coincidence have to wonder if these groups go out in search of footage to reinforce their forthcoming campaign, or hold on to it until they have enough for a few ads.

The reality of things concerning other animals, is that if these groups were legitimately interested in stopping cruelty to other animals, they would be working with these businesses and farmers as much as possible to ensure that animal abuse doesn’t happen.

Or even helping the farmers move away from animal ag to some other type of farming.

Education NOT Condemnation Is The Key

Whilst it is my view that other animals shouldn’t be used for food in the first place, the reality of this is that this isn’t going to happen in the short term.

The second reality is that there are a number of animal groups that like to be seen to be doing something, rather than actually achieving something. This could be why they are eager to promote their Humane Education Officer for school visits.

Why not send them into these farms as well?

[GARD]Granted there is no glory in it for the organisation, and they probably won’t be able to use it as a membership selling point, though think of all the animals they could save from cruelty if they spoke to those who are on the ‘front line’.

Who knows, if they took a mature view of this whole issue, and became proactive, rather than reactive, they may just encourage the farmers to become more open and transparent with the way that they use other animals.

And isn’t that what this is all about, the animals?

What are your thoughts?