California cattlemen have introduced an “ag gag” bill to make it harder for animal rights activists to infiltrate factory farming operations, take muckraking videos and blow the whistle on factory farming cruelty.
What a dumb piece of legislation.
The right course is to eliminate the sort of cruel factory farm methods that draw the likes of PETA documentarians and the wrath of the law. Because times are changing. Consumers are becoming more skeptical about factory farming. Many do not want to support an inhumane food system in which animals are treated like mere production units, denied any natural habitat, crowded into tight cages or coops, and forced to live in misery.
The cattle industry is one of the most traditional. That can be a good thing for man and cow alike. Hard, healthy work on a cattle ranch is an honorable lifestyle. Cattle raised on the range live like cattle are supposed to. Cattle packed into feed lots, on the other hand, are fed corn, not grass as nature intended, live in filthy, crowded conditions, and are exposed to more diseases.
Using the law to blame the messenger is not the solution. It’s the PR-challenged cattle industry shooting itself in the foot.