Mary Matalin, James Carville to KY Lawmakers: Don’t Criminalize Cruelty Investigations

GOP Strategist Matalin Sends Video Appeal to GOP Backers of New Bill Outlawing Undercover Filming in Wake of Landmark Horse-Racing Case

For Immediate Release:
March 28, 2014

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Louisville, Ky. – Although conservative political strategist Mary Matalin and her Democratic husband, James Carville, are famously opposites on most issues, they’re in sync on one thing brewing in Kentucky (besides Maker’s Mark): They both oppose the “ag-gag” amendment to House Bill 222 to ban undercover filming at facilities using animals. Matalin has just sent a three-minute video that she filmed for PETA on the issue to all the GOP members of the Senate urging them to reject the Republican-backed amendment, which comes directly on the heels of PETA’s undercover horse-racing investigation, which included footage from Churchill Downs.

In her letter, Matalin writes, “PETA has worked hand in hand with law enforcement around the country, providing evidence from other undercover cases to achieve landmark criminal convictions against abusers who beat, sexually abused, and stomped on animals.”

She explains that actions taken by authorities to address abuse, such as the investigations opened by the racing commissions in Kentucky, New Mexico, and New York following PETA’s horse-racing exposé and the numerous criminal convictions of abusive workers on factory farms around the country, may not be possible under an “ag-gag” law. Similar bills have been rejected by the legislatures of more than a dozen states.

Matalin’s letter to Senate President Robert Stivers II follows. For more information, please visit


The Honorable Robert Stivers II
Senate President
The Senate of Kentucky


Dear Senator Stivers:

Greetings, and happy spring. My husband, James, and I may be political opposites, but there’s something brewing in Kentucky that we agree on (besides our love of Maker’s Mark). We’re extremely disappointed to hear that “ag-gag” language has been added to House Bill (H.B.) 222, which was originally intended to protect animals from agonizing deaths in gas chambers, not to hide illegal abuse. I’m writing with all due respect to ask that you reject this amendment and pass the original bill. Eleven states rejected “ag-gag” bills last year, and others have killed them or stricken language this session, because they impede police from enforcing the law.

As you’ll see in my three-minute video on this topic, PETA has worked hand in hand with law enforcement around the country, providing evidence from other undercover cases to achieve landmark criminal convictions against abusers who beat, sexually abused, and stomped on animals at agricultural facilities. As there are no government inspections of factory farms for cruelty violations and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering scaling back its own slaughterhouse inspections, undercover work is more important than ever for ensuring that existing laws are enforced. That’s why I’ve been joined by figures from both sides of the aisle, from fellow Republican Bob Barker to animal-welfare expert Temple Grandin and my husband, in opposing bills such as this one and why more than a dozen states, from Arkansas to Indiana to New Mexico, have rejected them. Just last year, Tennessee’s governor vetoed a similar bill after the state’s attorney general said that it could “constitute an unconstitutional burden on news gathering.”

I hope you’ll pass the bill to protect animals without protecting abusers, too. Please reject the “ag-gag” amendment to H.B. 222. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Mary Matalin

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind