House barely approves animal abuse reporting bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A bill to require anyone recording or taking photos of livestock abuse to turn images over to law enforcement within 48 hours has been approved in the House with 50 votes -- the bare minimum needed to clear the chamber.

Animal protection activists like the Humane Society of the United States have said the bill would have a chilling effect on whistleblowers and prevent undercover operations from establishing a pattern of abuse.

In 2011, the Humane Society secretly filmed video inside a Tennessee Walking Horse stable showing trainers applying caustic substances to the horses' legs and beating them to make them stand.

Trainer Jackie McConnell, whose stable was in Senate sponsor Dolores Gresham's West Tennessee district, pleaded guilty in federal court in September.

The Senate version passed 22-9 on Tuesday.

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