Absurd to compare animal activists to terrorists

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 April, 2013, 2:31am

I was surprised at the reaction of US farm groups and state legislatures against the uncovering of widespread animal abuse by animal-rights activists ("Farm lobby gags animal activists", April 8).

Animal activists have done nothing but covertly videotape the treatment of animals by farm workers, leaking the footage only when abuse is apparent. They are not releasing corporate secrets or selling information.

However, many state legislatures in America have proposed banning covert videotaping and making applicants for farm jobs disclose ties to animal-rights groups. Most alarming is a proposal for an "animal and ecological terrorism act" that would place activists who take pictures of livestock to "defame the facility or its owner" on par with the terrorists behind the September 11 attacks.

The so-called "Ag-Gag" bills make it almost impossible for activists to continue their exposés of mistreatment, thereby allowing farmers the freedom to treat livestock as they see fit.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, a lobby group for the agricultural and meat industries, commented that some methods seen in the covert videos were "best practices", comparing those methods with open-heart surgery.

I know for certain that open-heart surgery is done for the well-being of the patient, and while the patient is sedated.

I fail to see how kicking pigs or burning horses with chemicals are in any way similar to delicate surgery, as the animals suffer terribly. The purpose of shameful actions are unclear.

I believe that animal abuse can only be defeated by the joint forces of the government, the food industry and their customers, and the public. I am greatly distressed that farm owners seem to support the maltreatment of livestock and are trying to prevent activists from accomplishing their goals.

William McCorkindale, Ma On Shan