Our Idaho Legislature is working to make Idaho the last bastion for sanctioned animal cruelty. We have enshrined trapping in our constitution, Idaho has one of the weakest felony animal cruelty laws in the country, and now Sen. Jim Patrick wants to criminalize undercover video or photo evidence of cruelty towards livestock. The bill was born out of the Bettencourt case where video footage showed extreme abuse of dairy cows in Hansen. Sen. Patrick and the Senate Agricultural Affairs committee have chosen to recommend criminalizing the effort to uncover and stop abuse rather than working to stop abuse itself.
I attended the Senate hearing recently and heard lobbyists and industry executives lament the public outcry and damage to reputations that have resulted from uncovering cruelty towards livestock. There was no real concern expressed for the animals that had suffered so horribly, and in fact a significant amount of venom was aimed at the people and animal charities that are working to end cruelty.
If you care about animal welfare and/or food safety, please visit www.legislature.idaho.gov and contact your senator and representatives. You can also contact the governor's office at gov.idaho.gov and submit comments there.
Peter J. Brockett, Boise