Advocates urge Governor to veto "Ag Gag" Bill

Organizations are urging Governor Bill Haslam to veto a law that would require people to report animal abuse and cruelty within 24 hours of witnessing it.

FILE - In this April 22, 2010 image from video provided by the United States Humane Society, a Hallmark Meat Packing slaughter plant worker is shown attempting to force a "downed" cow onto its feet by ramming it with the blades of a forklift in Chino, Calif. State legislators across the country are introducing laws making it harder for animal welfare advocates to investigate cruelty and food safety cases. Bills pending in California, Nebraska and Tennessee require that anyone collecting evidence of abuse turn it over to law enforcement within 24 to 48 hours - which advocates say does not allow enough time to document illegal activity under federal humane handling and food safety laws. Critics say the bills are an effort to deny consumers the ability to know how their food is produced. (AP Photo/Humane Society of the United States, file)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) --- Add Horse Haven to a list that includes the Humane Society, the ASPCA, and the ACLU.

All of those organizations are urging Governor Bill Haslam to veto a law that would require people to report animal abuse and cruelty within 24 hours of witnessing it.

That includes filing any photos and video evidence within a day of taking them.

The groups that oppose the law say it would do more bad than good.

Their fear is that many animal abuse cases take longer than a day to investigate.

They point to the 2012 undercover investigation into the Tennessee Walking Horse as their example.

In that case it took 4 months to gather enough video, and advocates fear that not only would that investigation not be allowed but the person shooting the video would be breaking the law.

The bill awaits the Governor's signature.


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