Thursday, 14 May 2015 00:00

New Poll Reveals North Carolina Voters Support Undercover Investigations, Oppose Ag-Gag Legislation Featured

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ASPCA urges North Carolina lawmakers to vote no on ag-gag bill

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is urging North Carolina lawmakers to reject HB 405, legislation that would prevent whistleblowers from exposing animal cruelty, food safety violations and other factory farm atrocities the public deserves to know about. In a newly released poll conducted by Lake Research Partners, 74 percent of North Carolina voters say they support undercover investigations by animal welfare groups on farms. Furthermore, by a margin of nearly 3 to 1, North Carolina voters oppose legislation that would prevent these undercover investigations. Opposition to this bill is strong across all parties, regions, and demographics. HB 405, which passed the House of Representatives in April, is expected to be heard by the Senate Committee on Commerce today.

“North Carolina residents are clearly appalled by HB 405, an insidious attempt to cover up horrific abuse on factory farms,” said Chloe Waterman, senior manager of state legislative strategy for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA urges the North Carolina Senate to take heed of the strong desire of its constituents to know what is happening behind barn doors by defeating HB 405.”

This ag-gag bill threatens to cover up not only horrific animal abuse and food safety problems, but also illegal or unethical environmental and labor violations at any business. HB 405 is so far-reaching that it could even prevent nurses from revealing elder abuse in hospitals and nursing homes, teachers from exposing child abuse in day care centers, and employees from documenting workplace discrimination or mistreatment.

Last week, the animal welfare group, Compassion Over Killing, released footage from an undercover investigation at a North Carolina chicken slaughterhouse. Filmed during March and April 2015, this video captured workers violently tossing birds across the facility, slamming birds upside down into moving shackles, and throwing sick and injured birds in with piles of dead birds as if they were trash. If HB 405 were to become law, investigations documenting this type of cruelty would never see the light of day. Past investigations of industrial farms have led to major food recalls, criminal convictions and critical reforms.

“North Carolinians value farm animal welfare and a safe food supply and this poll shows that they respect the role of whistleblowers in our society,” said Daisy Freund, senior manager of Farm Animal Welfare for the ASPCA. “The ASPCA hopes lawmakers listen to their constituents and protect their right to know how their food is produced.”

In an effort to bring more transparency to practices on factory farms, the ASPCA recently launched the #OpenTheBarns campaign, a rallying cry for advocates representing interests as diverse as animal welfare, food, safety, workers’ rights, environmental protection and civil liberties. The social media campaign encourages advocates to share their reasons to “open the barns” and protect the public’s right to know what happens on farms.

To learn more about the ASPCA or to join the Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.

About the ASPCA® Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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