AG-Gag

The secrecy agents are at it again. Senator Travis Holdman, a Republican from over around Wells County has introduced at the Indiana General Assembly Senate Bill 101. This bill is also known as the “AG-GAG” bill. Its purpose is to keep secret all of the questionable practices of farmers in raising animals or crops, many of which wind up on the tables of Indiana families. It is known that some of the practices of confinement feeding of pigs, cattle and chickens are abominable. It is just that the farmers who engage in such practices want them kept secret. They want the public to be kept ignorant.

This type of legislation was introduced in the last session of the Indiana General Assembly and did not make it through to the governor’s desk. Hopefully, this will be the fate of this attempt at censorship. Hiding only confirms wrong doing. Think about it. If you are doing things you think would be judged wrong by the public, the only way to keep doing them is to hide them, keep them secret. Otherwise, an informed public may require change. Those that support this bill are proposing secrecy. Those supporters do not belong in positions of public trust because they betray that trust.

Several other states have passed such legislation. The bills are aimed directly at whistleblowers. It criminalizes whistleblowing. Whistleblowing employees have played a vital role in exposing animal abuse, unsafe working conditions, and environmental problems in industrial style farming operations. There are already adequate laws on the books to prevent or penalize misbehavior around private property. No more laws are needed particularly if hiding acts and practices the public needs to know about are what they do. The “AG-GAG” bill needs to die a not-so-quiet death.

States having AG-GAG laws already on the books include Iowa, Utah, North Dakota, Montana, and Kansas. Guess where the most livestock is raised. Shame on them.

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About Kent Blacklidge Ph.D.

As part of a newspaper family who owned a 34,000 daily newspaper in the heart of the Midwest, I have a passion for a strong “Fourth Estate”, the press. Without a diligent and assertive free press, the power would be taken from the people. People have the absolute right to know. After earning a degree in Industrial Management from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue, I spent over 20 years in newspaper management with several as publisher. I am also holder of three graduate science degrees including a Ph.D.. I have a passionate interest in science and the environment. I have little tolerance for ignorance and stupidity.
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