Letter: Insidious bill on animal cruelty
When I first read about the farm animal bill, I couldn’t understand how anyone could oppose it. The bill requires anyone who witnesses farm animal cruelty to report it within 48 hours. Since I can’t stand to see cruel treatment toward any animal or human, I thought this bill was a great idea.
I was confused when I read that the Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups were opposed to the bill. Why would animal protection organizations be against legislation requiring witnesses of animal cruelty to report it to officials within 48 hours?
What I learned is that undercover investigators from animal protection groups go to farms to videotape animal cruelty. Some of them stay at the farms for two to three months, taping and recording, never for just a day or two. The reason for this is that documentation of an isolated incident of cruelty can be dismissed as just that: an isolated incident. Investigators must prove a pattern of abuse in order to build a case that will stand up in court. It would be difficult to establish a pattern of abuse in just 48 hours, and this is where the brilliant and insidious nature of this bill starts to become clear: It would thwart attempts to establish a pattern of abuse, thus preventing prosecutors from successfully winning a court case against farm animal abusers.