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  • Apr
  • 27

Animals Should Be Shot—With Cameras

Posted by at 12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)
Cloris Leachman: Condoms Don't Work by Guest Blogger


I was born and raised in Des Moines, and I’ve always been proud to be a Midwesterner. There’s a clarity, a straightforwardness, a candidness, and an honesty—and a type of clear thinking—that comes from being from the Midwest.

That’s why I was so disappointed to hear about a bill currently in Iowa’s legislature that gives the impression that Iowa has something to be ashamed of—a dirty secret to hide. HF 589 would make it illegal to photograph farmed animals without first getting permission from the farmer. What are they trying to hide? Do Iowa farms house really famous animals like Miss Piggy and Babe, and this law just seeks to protect them from paparazzi? If only. What they are trying to hide are the routine violations of state and federal anti-cruelty laws that have been documented in Iowa and across the country.

In 2008, my friends at PETA went undercover at a Greene County factory farm that supplied pigs to Hormel. The group found that workers were beating pigs with metal rods, sexually abusing them with canes, jabbing clothespins into their eyes, and more. Because of PETA’s investigation, six workers were charged with a total of 22 counts of livestock neglect and abuse. All of them admitted guilt. Pork magazine called this case a “wake-up call” for the industry—but three years later, the industry is still hitting the snooze button.

Iowa’s anti-filming bill has already passed the House and is currently being considered in the Senate. If HF 589 becomes law, whistleblowers who try to expose cruelty to animals in the meat, dairy, or egg industries could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, face criminal prosecution, and be ordered to pay heavy fines or even serve jail time. That’s a harsher punishment than the actual perpetrators of animal abuse receive, in many cases.

Citizens’ right to document cruelty to animals—wherever it occurs—is crucial in helping local, state, and federal officials enforce anti-cruelty laws. Authorities can’t be everywhere at once, and funding for enforcement of anti-cruelty laws is sorely lacking in most places. What we need are more cameras on factory farms, not fewer.

It seems to me that this odd Iowa bill is a reaction to an animal agriculture bill in California a few years ago. That bill didn’t seek to circumvent laws by forbidding cameras—it sought to address increasing concerns about how animals are treated in the meat industry and establish more humane practices. And the bill passed with overwhelming support from both conservatives and liberals. I hope Iowa legislators recognize that with more and more consumers demanding better treatment of animals, they need to work to enforce and strengthen laws, not criminalize the actions of those trying to expose illegal cruelty.

Cloris Leachman attended Roosevelt High School in Des Moines before embarking on a career in Hollywood, eventually winning an Oscar and multiple Emmy Awards. She is 84 and a longtime PETA supporter.

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  • dawn says:

    we should be able to gather proof any way we can. if these people are not doing anything wrong, why do they care if we get pics or videos?

  • Robin Tierney says:

    Vote with your dollars – but also with your votes, People! We each need to get to know what positions each of our elected representatives actually support, what bills they initiate, sponsor and support, how they vote, and what special-interests they bolster through their actions. And also, when the routine ploy of “jobs” is used to justify support of destruction, cruelty and other activities that harm sentient beings and the earth.

  • Personally the only way I know of to constructively stop any kind of bad behavior toward innocent animals is to show and convince others by setting a proper example. Myself, if I were the abuser, I would probably feel put to shame by seeing someone else who can do something more challenging than to pick on or abuse something which cannot protect itself. For example, if PETA were to air on prime time television the more positive examples set by people who would serve as role models, and to expose the cruelty to animals as just plain cowardly and irresponsible, this would, I am sure, alert people in general and even call on people to be a part of the solution, not the problem. I don’t think that even a negative person would want himself to be exposed in the open sight of others as being a coward, or a loser, or part of the problem. PETA can even show well known people who have truly achieved in life, and ask them how they would stand toward how animals should be treated. This would at least be an example, and I believe that many would be ignorant people who normally might not even care might suddenly become aware of how a positive behavior and outlook affects others – both people and animals – around them. PETA would do well to show this, on the air, from time to time.

  • Lisa says:

    First of all … GO-GO Cloris Leachman!

    Second … I don’t know about you but I’m SICK & TIRED of hearing, seeing & reading about the evil crap humans are doing every single day to this planet & all that occupies on it especially the innocent animals. I DON’T GET IT?? Seriously … I DON’T GET IT?? I AM SOOO UNBELIEVABLY ASHAMED TO BE A HUMAN; they are atrocious, vicious, savage, sadistic creatures. This is appalling & unspeakable behavior humans are doing & they need to be STOPPED, no if ands or buts about it these horrid & hideous humans need to be STOPPED … PERIOD!!!!!!! We were not born into this world being evil, it is a choice & it is revolting how much humans have a total disregard for life! What have these poor innocent animals done to deserve the maliciousness we humans are inflicting upon them?? Haven’t humans done enough damage? We can’t keep turning the other cheek, it’s time to stand up for what is right & since there seems to be no justice left in this world to actually punish these gruesome humans then those that have done the abuse & bloodshed deserves the exact same torture in return – it is only fair. END THE ABUSE & STOP THE KILLING OF INNOCENT ANIMALS BY THESE VILE HUMANS! PROTECT & RESPECT!

  • Melissa says:

    The human race will continue to decline in morality until the time we begin viewing ALL life as precious. Many of us already know the value of each living being of this Earth and we try to share the message with others and of course there are wonderful organizations such as PETA who teach respect for ALL life. Until we as a whole learn to appreciate every form of living being, we will have hatred and violence among our own kind. If this law passes, we are certainly moving in the wrong direction and this can NOT be allowed! Shame on those who would even consider passing a law which will support the concealment of disgusting acts! Cloris Leachman, you are one of my heroes and I appreciate all you do for the animals of this Earth! Let’s all continue to share the message of compassion, emphasizing that we humans are not the owners of this Earth or of those who reside upon it. We are to be good stewards of the Earth and this law would be in total contradiction to this fact.

  • donna says:

    …..something about ‘killing the messenger?’ the government should make lobbying for risk-free animal abuse illegal. it is completely unbelieveable that this is in the process of being approved. some things make one embarrassed to be a human.

  • Alyssa says:

    This is saying you can be arrested for video taping a crime being committed. If a human was being regularly abused by another human and you had evidence of it, wouldn’t that be legal? So why is this not ok when you are trying to protect animals?

  • Steve Robbins says:

    You go, Cloris Leachman! Why is our government catering to big business instead of the people who elected it? Why is it a crime to tell the truth (other than the fact that it costs factory farms money)?

  • Karen Pittenger says:

    Thank you so much Cloris Leachman. We are watching and waiting. I pray that this does not come to pass, but if it does, we must act accordingly. I know PETA is always prepared for what is necessary, and I will support them any way I can.

  • Marcia says:

    That such a law could be considered is ridiculous. That it is moving through state legislatures is an outrage. People really need to fight back over this one. I’m hoping PETA and other organizations initiate law suits over the issue of free speech. Obviously, the big abusers are running scared and spending big money to cover up. It would be tragic for the animals if they get by with it.

  • Ellie says:

    This is ridiculous ! Go after the abusers, not after someone who is trying to help the animals. How absurd !

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