Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bob Barker to Butch Otter: Come On Down and Veto That 'Ag-Gag' Bill

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Bob Barker says Idaho's so-called "ag-gag" legislation is no game.

The former host of the Price Is Right and well-known animal-rights activist has fired off a letter to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, urging him to veto Senate Bill 1337, which passed through the Idaho House Feb. 26 on a 56 to 14 vote.

SB 1337 aims to crack down on anyone who is not employed by an agricultural production facility or anyone who obtains employment with such an operation through misrepresentation. If said persons were to obtain records or enter an agricultural production facility that is not open to the public, or "make audio or video recordings of the conduct" at that facility, they would face a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison. Additionally, the guilty party would pay twice the value of damages to the agricultural facility.

But opponents say the measure is a direct attack on First Amendment protections and instead offers special protections for a small sliver of personal property owners who don't want reporters or whistleblowers coming onto their property to document alleged abuses.

Barker, who calls himself a lifetime Republican, wrote to Otter on behalf of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, writing that the Idaho bill "could keep evidence of routine, illegal abuse on farms from authorities."

"More than a dozen other states have rejected similar bills, which shows that their agriculture industries don’t need a law to shield illegal abuse, and I hope you’ll join them by vetoing this bill," wrote Barker.

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