In the aftermath of PETA's recent news blitz with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio against Arizona’s proposed “ag-gag” bill, lawmakers have rewritten the measure, but PETA still opposes the GOP-backed bill’s lessening of penalties for farmed-animal abusers, as does TV icon and lifelong Republican Bob Barker.
He has just penned an urgent letter on PETA’s behalf to every GOP member of the state Senate urging them to reject the measure. Barker’s letter outlines how the amended bill would strip farmed animals of legal protections and hamper the prosecution of abuse on factory farms.
“The revised H.B. 2587, while sparing whistleblowers and undercover investigators from prosecution, would still interfere with authorities’ ability to hold abusers on factory farms accountable,” wrote Barker. "With the amendments, farmed animals would be denied the protections of existing animal- cruelty statutes and instead be covered by a much weaker law, and egregious cases of animal abuse would never be considered felonies for first-time offenders.
“Fellow Republican Mary Matalin filmed this three-minute video, which focuses on PETA’s work with officials around the country to achieve landmark felony indictments and criminal convictions ― results that this bill’s passage could preclude. One such case, in which workers beat and sexually abused pigs on an Iowa farm, was even deemed a “wake-up call” for the agriculture industry by Pork Magazine. Although the amended bill might not prevent this evidence from reaching authorities, it would hinder their ability to prosecute offenders effectively and to end the abuse.
“Instead of passing H.B. 2587, we should focus on toughening cruelty statutes so that Arizona law-enforcement officials, including Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who vehemently opposes this bill, can stop abusers in their tracks. Diverse figures ranging from meat-eaters such as Matalin and Arpaio to animal-welfare expert Temple Grandin and vegetarians like me are joined by millions of consumers who want to ensure that workers on farms are held to at least the minimum standards under the law.”