PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews was in Tampa this week to speak at the University of South Florida about a proposed bill that would make filming and photographing farms without the express consent of the owner a felony. Dan invited Senator Jim Norman from Tampa, who proposed the bill, to join him onstage to present his arguments, but the senator didn't show. Maybe he was afraid someone would take his picture.
Dan quipped, "That's right, a Kodak moment of a cow or a chicken is on par with rape and murder in Senator Norman's world."
After widespread ridicule, the language of SB 1246 was changed to make photographing farms a misdemeanor, but why should it be a crime at all?
"What is the Ag Committee afraid will be filmed?" asked Dan. "Are farmed animals engaged in illegal gambling late at night when nobody's looking?"
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Or is the answer much more sinister: Do factory farmers (and their influential lobbyists) simply want to prevent the public from seeing the abuse going on behind their walls?
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PETA's "Glass Walls" video, narrated by Sir Paul McCartney, shows exactly what farmers are afraid you'll see: animals jammed into filthy, windowless sheds, where they stand in their own waste and have their bodies mutilated without any painkillers. Not to mention the beatings by workers—and that's all before they're slaughtered. Unfortunately, factory farms and slaughterhouses don't have glass walls, which is precisely why it is so important for undercover investigators to be able to expose the abuse and alert people to what they're paying for every time they buy a chicken breast or a pork chop.
Written by Michelle Sherrow