国家条例草案旨在封锁农场虐待动物视频

State bills seek end to farm animal abuse videos

美联社

Associated Press

2013年3月17日发布

Published March 17, 2013

萨克拉门托(SACRAMENTO),加利福尼亚州—一段隐蔽拍摄的视频揭露了美国加州的奶牛被叉车刺杀屠宰的时候,奋力挣扎着站起,这段视频导致了美国历史上最大的一次的肉类制品召回事件。在佛蒙特州,一段小牛被活拨皮并像土豆口袋一样抛放的视频,最终以屠宰厂的关闭和刑事定罪收场。

如今,肉类和家禽业的反对导致全国州立法者开始提出制定法律,使得动物福利的倡导者更加难以对残酷屠杀和食品安全案例进行调查。

有些议案使得农业操作时的拍照成为非法行为。另一些议案使得动物福利的倡导者在屠宰场申请工作时,在申请表中隐瞒身份成为犯罪行为。

加利福尼亚州,内布拉斯加州和田纳西州的待定法案要求任何收集虐待动物证据的人,都要在24至48小时之内将证据转交给执法机构 – 对此,动物福利倡导者们说根据联邦人性化的处理和食品安全法,不足以有时间来记录非法活动。

“我们相信,农场工作人员和来自人道组织的代表都同样的关心和担忧残害屠杀动物的行为。”弗雷斯诺州共和党众议员吉姆·帕特森的参谋长迈克·齐默尔曼说,众议员吉姆·帕特森的法案本周刚刚公布。 “如果有残杀虐待动物的事情发生,让它继续发生然后做个视频是没有意义的。”

帕特森的法案,由加州养牛协会赞助,可能会使未能在48小时内转交动物虐待视频给执法机构的,构成违规并处以罚款。

批评人士说,该法案试图阻碍消费者对他们所购买的食物是如何生产的知情权。

“肉类加工业的口头禅永远是,这些是个别情况,但这些法案的目的是防止任何形式的虐待残杀行为被记录在案 ” 美国人道组织农场动物保护部门副总裁, 执行过加州和佛蒙特州调查的保罗·夏皮罗(Paul Shapiro)说到。

在印第安纳州,阿肯色州,宾夕法尼亚州,农业操作时录像是一种犯罪行为。

加工业的代表说,加利福尼亚州法律提案的目地,是希望迅速地制止虐待残杀动物的行为,使政府监管部门在两天内得到视频证据,而不是妨碍动物福利团体的卧底调查。

牧场主副总裁兼美国加州州立大学奇科分校农业科学系教授,大卫·戴利(David Daley)说:“做卧底调查的人并不是警察,所以我不认为打官司是他们的事情。我们共同的目标是减少对动物的虐待残杀”。

对美国加州法案的正式反对来自美国防止虐待动物协会(ASPCA),联畜驾权者,慈善协会(HSUS)还有数十家其它组织。他们认为,肉类加工业为停止调查所做的这些尝试是由商业利益财力支持的保守智囊团-美国立法交流委员会所设置的全国性议程的一部分。

ALEC把这些干扰动物食品生产的人列为“恐怖分子”, 尽管一位发言人说,他希望ALEC组织能称呼他们的立法为“自由农场法案”,而不是“动物和生态恐怖主义法案”。

“最终,它是一个关于个人产权或个人私隐权的问题” 发言人比尔·玫尔陵(Bill Meierling)说到。 “你不希望我带着一个隐藏的摄像头进你家。”

动物福利的倡导者说,所有这些把焦点放在如何保密隐私的行为都是在浪费精力。

“我希望这些养牛人是真的想停止这种残酷的行为,而不是记录这些残杀行为,”HSUS组织加州主任珍妮弗· 费尔说(Jennifer Fearing)。 “他们可以想一千种方法来实际上停止残酷的行为,而不是等待人们去制作并上交视频。”

动物福利的倡导者说,执法机构没有时间或意愿去处理这些复杂的虐待残杀动物和食品安全的案例,美国联邦农业部检查人员对屠宰厂的虐杀行为也视而不见。

当得知一个美国农业部的检查员2009年在佛蒙特州的一家农厂教授工人如何避免农场被关闭,美国农业部长汤姆·维尔萨克(Tom Vilsack)发表评论说,这种行为是“不可原谅的”

面对种种问题,在过去的两年中,美国农业部(USDA)一直在努力提高其人性化处理规定的执法力度,包括设置一个专门接收违规行为报告的监察员职位。一位来自食品安全部门的高级官员私下透露,去年在食品安全检测服务部门,就产生24个新职位,以致力于动物人性化处理,。

这些手段并没能减缓调查或者阻止调查法案的产生。阿肯色州的法案比其他州更进了一步,禁止除执法调查机构以外的任何人对屠杀虐待动物案件进行调查。

去年,主要的鸡蛋生产州 – 爱荷华州通过了一项法案,使得动物福利的倡导者如果在农场申请工作时隐瞒身份会构成犯罪。犹他州通过了禁止摄影拍摄的法案。

近年来,大多数轰动一时的有关残杀虐待动物的影片,是由动物福利的倡导者通过在农场申请工作时隐瞒身份,得到雇佣后,暗中偷偷拍摄下来的。去年,一段来自“慈悲代替杀害”慈善组织,曝光了加利福尼亚州,位于汉福德中央山谷肉类加工厂的残忍视频录像,加工厂的一个工人踩在被击倒在地的奶牛的鼻孔上使其窒息,另外的工人则不停的朝奶牛头部开枪,这段视频促使一些快餐汉堡店取消合同,至少暂时性地取消合同。

动物福利组织的工作人员说,调查需要数周时间,因为他们只有在被雇佣的工作之外的时间才能四处打探并拍摄调查。

在2007年10月到11月期间的六个星期当中,美国仁慈协会(HSUS)的调查员在南加州的Hallmark工厂。当时该非营利组织向当地的检察院提供证据,证明在联邦学校午餐计划中肉类食品涉嫌诈骗,屠杀并使用生重病而无法行走的动物。2008年1月,美国人道协会发布的视频迫使检察院采取行动。两名员工因残酷虐待被定罪。

去年年底,九名在怀俄明州猪肉加工厂的工人被指控虐待动物,HSUS录像显示,他们又踢又折腾小猪崽,并未能对生崽时被工人严重弄伤的母猪进行安乐死。

2009年,HSUS用了21天在佛蒙特州的屠宰场进行调查,这里,奶牛刚产的小公犊牛被屠杀做成牛肉。

“相信我,我们的调查人员希望尽快离开屠宰场。他们非常坚忍,非常勇敢,但是他们一点也不喜欢在那工作”HSUS的调查主管玛丽·贝丝·香洲(Mary Beth Sweetland)说。

文章来源:http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/17/state-bills-seek-end-to-farm-animal-abuse-videos/#ixzz2NvDRSdlL

翻译:卢文哲

校对:不惑

 

State bills seek end to farm animal abuse videos

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – An undercover video that showed California cows struggling to stand as they were prodded to slaughter by forklifts led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history. In Vermont, a video of veal calves skinned alive and tossed like sacks of potatoes ended with the plant’s closure and criminal convictions.

Now in a pushback led by the meat and poultry industries, state legislators across the country are introducing laws making it harder for animal welfare advocates to investigate cruelty and food safety cases.

Some bills make it illegal to take photographs at a farming operation. Others make it a crime for someone such as an animal welfare advocate to lie on an application to get a job at a plant.

Bills pending in California, Nebraska and Tennessee require that anyone collecting evidence of abuse turn it over to law enforcement within 24 to 48 hours — which advocates say does not allow enough time to document illegal activity under federal humane handling and food safety laws.

“We believe that folks in the agriculture community and folks from some of the humane organizations share the same concerns about animal cruelty,” said Mike Zimmerman, chief of staff for Assembly Member Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, whose bill was unveiled this week. “If there’s abuse taking place, there is no sense in letting it continue so you can make a video.”

Patterson’s bill, sponsored by the California Cattlemen’s Association, would make failing to turn over video of abuse to law enforcement within 48 hours an infraction punishable by a fine.

Critics say the bills are an effort to deny consumers the ability to know how their food is produced.

“The meat industry’s mantra is always that these are isolated cases, but the purpose of these bills is to prevent any pattern of abuse from being documented,” said Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States, which conducted the California and Vermont investigations.

In Indiana, Arkansas and Pennsylvania it would be a crime to make videos at agricultural operations.

The goal of the proposed California law, industry representatives say, is to halt any abuses quickly and get video evidence to government regulators within two days, not to impede undercover investigations by animal welfare groups.

“The people doing this aren’t cops so I wouldn’t think it’s their job to build a case. The goal for all of us is to reduce instances of animal abuse,” said David Daley, a Cattlemen vice president and professor of agricultural science at California State University-Chico.

Formal opposition to the California bill comes from the ASPCA, the Teamsters, the HSUS and dozens of others. They say these attempts by the agriculture industry to stop investigations are a part of a nationwide agenda set by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative think tank backed by business interests.

ALEC has labeled those who interfere with animal operations “terrorists,” though a spokesman said he wishes now that the organization had called its legislation the “Freedom to Farm Act” rather than the “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act.”

“At the end of the day it’s about personal property rights or the individual right to privacy,” said spokesman Bill Meierling. “You wouldn’t want me coming into your home with a hidden camera.”

Animal welfare advocates say all of the focus on secrecy is energy misspent.

“I wish the cattlemen actually wanted to stop cruelty, not the documenting of cruelty,” said HSUS California director Jennifer Fearing. “One could think of a thousand ways for them to actually stop cruelty rather than waiting for people to make videos and turn them over.”

Animal welfare advocates say law enforcement agencies do not have the time or inclination to work complex animal abuse and food safety cases, and that federal USDA inspectors in slaughter plants have turned a blind eye to abuse.

When a USDA inspector at the Vermont plant was heard in 2009 coaching a plant worker on how to avoid being shut down, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack weighed in, calling the conduct “inexcusable.”

In reaction to concerns, the USDA has been working to improve enforcement of its humane handling regulations over the past two years, including establishing an ombudsman position that accepts reports of violations. Last year 24 new positions in the Food Safety Inspection Service were dedicated to humane handling, said a high-ranking food safety official not authorized to speak publicly.

That hasn’t slowed investigations or the bills designed to stop them. The Arkansas bill goes further than the others and would prohibit anyone other than law enforcement from investigating animal cases.

Last year Iowa, a major egg-producing state, passed a bill making it illegal to deny being a member of an animal welfare organization on a farm job application. Utah passed one that outlaws photography.

Most of the sensational videos of abuse in recent years are shot by undercover operatives who surreptitiously apply and are hired by the meat processors for jobs within the facilities. One recorded last year by Compassion over Killing at Central Valley Meats in Hanford, Calif. showed a worker standing on a downed dairy cow’s nostrils to suffocate it and others repeatedly shot in the head, prompting several fast-food hamburger to cancel contracts, at least temporarily.

Animal welfare groups say investigations take weeks because the operatives nose around only when they aren’t performing the duties for which they were hired.

An HSUS investigator was in the Hallmark plant in Southern California for six weeks between October and November 2007, when the nonprofit turned over to the local district attorney evidence that included fraud in the federal school lunch program because animals too sick to walk were being slaughtered. In January 2008, HSUS released the video to force the DA to act. Two employees were convicted of cruelty charges.

Late last year, nine workers at a Wyoming pork processing facility were charged with animal cruelty after an HSUS video showed them kicking and tossing piglets and failing to euthanize a sow gravely injured by a worker while giving birth.

In 2009, HSUS spent 21 days in the Vermont slaughterhouse where male calves born to dairy cows were killed for veal.

“Believe me our investigators would like to be out of there as soon as possible. They’re stoic, they’re courageous, but they are not enjoying their work at all,” said Mary Beth Sweetland, director of investigations for HSUS.