Letter: Animal abuse

June 10, 2014 

Abuse of animals is abhorrent to almost all of us. Were we to learn of horses or dogs having been viciously kicked in the face, stomped upon, beaten with sticks, or dragged by chains around the neck, we would scream in protest. In 2012 video recordings were made of just such abuse of dairy cows at the Bettencourt Dairies in southern Idaho. The response of Idaho's $2.5 billion dairy industry was to lobby for legislation that criminally penalizes those who would record and report such abuse. Governor "Butch" Otter signed this legislation - the "Ag-Gag bill" - into law in February. Fines and jail time now faced by whistleblowers in Idaho exceed those of the abuser.

This is wrong! Abuse of animals cannot be tolerated, and when witnessed must be reported. As individuals we lack the political and financial resources of Idaho's dairy industry, but collectively our voices will be heard. Please. Talk with your community leaders, church leaders, elected representatives. Enlist their support for the overturning of this law.

If we Idahoans do nothing about the Ag-Gag law, then the milk we pour for our sons and daughters will be forever tainted by the suffering and blood of our dairy cows.

ROBIN HELM, M.D., Sandpoint

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