What do chickens and our constitutional rights have in common?


Imagine the outcry by tea party Republicans if state legislators were passing laws banning the use of video cameras in banks to capture images of robbers.

Yet, those very same tea partiers have been passing laws in various states to ban the use of videos to capture images of such giant, factory-farm operators as Tyson that are engaged in inhumane, immoral and disgusting abuses of turkeys, hogs and other animals.

The only reason the public knows about chickens being stomped to death and pregnant sows being driven insane because they’re caged so tightly they can’t even turn around is because courageous whistleblowers have secretly taped videos of the intolerable violence inside these animal concentration camps.

In response to the videoed exposés, however, eight states run by shameless, corporate-hugging Republicans have rushed to protect the worst abusers, making it illegal to release such tapes to the media or the public. North Carolina’s corrupt legislature, for example, has decreed that videoers who cause bad publicity for corporate animal torturers can be sued by the corporation and fined $5,000 for each day abuses are recorded. To add to the Kafkaesque absurdity of this “ag gag law,” the state legislature’s corporate buttkissers mandated that releasing videos of abuses in nursing home chains, day care centers and veterans’ facilities is now also banned.

In their eagerness to please corporate lobbyists and get campaign donations from these grossly-abusive profiteers, tea party Republicans across the country are stomping on our constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of the press, just as mindlessly as the animal abusers stomp chickens to death. For information and action tips on stopping this disgraceful industry-legislative cabal, go to www.aspca.org/OpenTheBarns.

This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.


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