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Idaho Passes Law to Throttle Exposure of Animal Abuse in Its Dairies


Idaho’s Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed into law Senate Bill No. 1337, heavily criticized as the Ag-Gag bill. The new law makes it a misdemeanor punishable with up to 1 year in prison and fines to secretly obtain information or videotape instances of the conduct of running agricultural activities in farms and dairies. The law is a response to an incident where the “Mercy for Animals” organization filmed 5 persons horribly abusing, sexually assaulting, and torturing cows in a Bettencourt Dairy in 2012.

Now, with the new law in place, the corporate dairy industry in Idaho can heave a collective sigh of relief, as, in addition to making it a crime to secretly film animal abuse in dairy farms, along with a $5, 000 fine, the law also mandates a restitution award “equal to twice the value of the damage resulting from the violation” which shall be “in accordance with the terms of Section 19-5304.”

In effect, the law says that if you film the culture of sexually assaulting and torturing animals, or any other unsanitary or unhygienic conduct in an agricultural facility and publish it – you will have to pay twice the economic damage suffered by the institution by loss of sales and otherwise, caused by such exposure.

And the Section 19-5304 under which the restitution amount is to be determined, does not allow any jury trial for determining damages. It also spells out “The existence of a policy of insurance covering the victim’s loss shall not absolve the defendant of the obligation to pay restitution. ”

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So, if you think you are going to become a brave whistleblower exposing acts of animal cruelty in Idaho’s corporate dairy farms, think again, and check your bank balance and assets.

Nathan Runkle, the executive director of the Mercy for Animals, whose whistle-blowing activities brought about this violent legal response in the form of the Ag-Gag law, summed up the situation saying, “Bowing to pressure from the corporate factory farming interests in Idaho, Governor Otter betrayed the will of his constituents and the majority of Americans who strongly oppose efforts to criminalize whistleblowers who dare to expose cruelty and corruption on Idaho’s farms. Clearly Governor Otter knows that Idaho’s factory farmers have a lot to hide from the American people if he is willing to go to such despicable lengths to conceal their cruel and abusive practices.”

The video that caused this retaliatory law has been embedded here from the Mercy for Animals channel on YouTube.

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Posted by on March 1, 2014. Filed under Legal News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

 

 

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