I wasn’t going to touch this topic with a ten-foot pole — for a couple of reasons, really:
- Personally, I’m not a big fan of Carrie Underwood. I just don’t subscribe to her brand of country music. I’m more of a red dirt girl myself.
- Ag gag bills are so misunderstood it’s sickening.
Then I realized that those two reasons were probably good reasons to talk about this, so here we go.
Carrie has been on the country music scene for some time. At first, her background — growing up on an Oklahoma cattle ranch — seemed like a perfect fit for country music and, maybe, for agriculture.
Then we learned that Carrie was a vegan (don’t get me wrong — if you think being a vegan is healthier for you, go for it. It’s certainly a choice.), and a supporter of the animal rights group PETA.
Now, I love puppies and cats, and animals in general, as much as the next guy. Where I run into problems with PETA is when they accuse me and my family of dairy farmers of being evil, greedy, no-good people for milking our cows twice a day. After all, milking those cows and caring for them day-in and day-out, in the rain, snow, mud, heat, cold and any other weather Mother Nature throws at us, must be cruel and unusual punishment.
Unless you’re a Carrie Underwood uber-fan, you probably didn’t know that, due to her PETA celebrity status, she’s been extremely vocal in her opposition of a bill working its way through the Tennessee state legislature.
The bill, HB1191, would require anyone with undercover footage of a farm or livestock operation to submit an unedited copy of the footage to law enforcement within 24 hours of shooting it.
Critics call it an “ag gag” bill, saying the legislation would criminalize whistle-blowing while allowing livestock producers to cover up alleged abuse.
In fact, now that the bill has landed on Governor Bill Haslam’s desk for consideration, Carrie put her thumbs to work, Tweeting up a storm about the injustice of it all:
Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who’s with me?
Carrie’s Tweets rallied the animal rights troops. But, for me, their opposition of the bill begs an important question: Shouldn’t a group like PETA be happy that a bill working its way through the legislature would work toward stopping animal abuse?
Groups like PETA tend to wait weeks — or even months — before releasing edited video footage to law enforcement. Holding on to the videos for months at a time gives animal rights activists the time necessary to edit footage to their desired maximum effect, and release it at the most opportune time.
But this bill, if approved, would mean that animal rights activists would not be allowed to hold onto footage for an extended period of time, allowing the alleged animal abuse to continue. A violation would be considered a misdemeanor crime and would be punishable by a fine.
Bottom line? A bill requiring undercover video evidence of alleged animal abuse be turned over to law enforcement within 24 hours is a win for everyone. It’s a win for farmers, animal rights activists (if they truly are concerned about animal welfare) and, most of all, it’s a win for the animals, which is why Carrie’s — and PETA’s — beef with the proposed law just doesn’t hold water.