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For Immediate Release:February 7, 2013
Contact:Kaitlynn Kelly 202-483-7382
Cheyenne, Wy. -- TV icon
Bob Barker has just sent on PETA's behalf to Wyoming state senators. In
the letter, which is available as a PDF here,
Barker urges the lawmakers to block "ag-gag" House Bill (H.B.) 126,
which would ban undercover cameras on factory farms—and as Barker, who grew up
in the neighboring state of South Dakota, explains, video footage from
undercover investigations has
helped law-enforcement officials across the country prosecute cases of animal
abuse. Barker, a lifelong Republican, is passionate about ensuring that
law-enforcement officials have all the resources that they need to enforce the
"Americans today want better treatment of animals
killed for food, not for their legislators to hide illegal cruelty on farms
behind locked doors," writes Barker. "I hope to hear that you'll
stand up for protecting our right to document and expose cruelty to
Barker isn't alone in protesting bills such as HB 126: Other
prominent people who have
joined PETA in speaking out against them include Cloris Leachman, Katherine
Heigl, Republican strategist Mary Matalin, and animal welfare expert Temple
Grandin. Similar bills have been defeated or abandoned by their sponsors in Florida,
Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, and Tennessee as well as
Arkansas, the second-largest poultry state.
The text of Barker's letter to President of the Senate Tony
February 7, 2013
The Honorable Tony RossWyoming State Senate
Dear Mr. Ross,
As a lifelong Republican who feels that authorities should
have access to everything that they need to enforce the law, I'm writing in the
hope that you will reject House Bill (H.B.) 126, which threatens to shroud
illegal abuses in factory farms and slaughterhouses in secrecy by keeping
cameras out of these facilities. Video footage from undercover investigations, which are often prompted by whistleblowers who work on
factory farms or in slaughterhouses, has helped
law-enforcement officials across the country, including in Iowa, North
Carolina, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, prosecute cases of animal abuse. Will
you protect our right to collect this evidence by opposing H.B. 126?
Because government inspection of factory farms for cruelty
violations is neither mandatory nor common and workers who report abuse to
supervisors are routinely ignored, evidence from undercover investigations is
critical for exposing abuse and helping officials prosecute abusers. My friends
at PETA, for example, went undercover in 2008 at Aviagen
Turkeys, Inc., in West Virginia and found workers beating, stomping on, and
maliciously killing birds, but even after the abuse was brought to a
supervisor's and Aviagen management's attention, the cruelty continued. Over
two months, the investigator collected detailed evidence showing that these
abuses were not isolated incidents but part of a pattern of routine and
systematic cruelty to animals. Ultimately, the evidence helped state police and
prosecutors obtain 23 indictments for cruelty to animals against three former
employees, all of whom were convicted and one of whom was jailed.
Americans today want better treatment of animals killed for
food, not for their legislators to hide illegal cruelty on farms behind locked
doors. Over the last few years, I've been joined by figures from all walks of
life, from Republican strategist Mary Matalin to animal welfare expert Temple
Grandin, in opposing bills similar to H.B. 126, and legislators have listened,
as such bills have died or been tabled by sponsors in Florida, Illinois,
Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, and Tennessee as well as Arkansas, the
second-largest poultry-producing state in the nation. I hope to hear that
you'll stand up for protecting our right to document and expose cruelty to
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.