See no evil? Law takes a wayward turn to shield slaughter
When I was a young boy on the verge of becoming a man, my dad invited my brother and I to a “special” fishing trip. He made it clear it was going to be a “guys” event for the three of us .
So we get our anchor dropped, and worms in the water. Then Dad says, “I just want you to know that you are becoming men now, and there are a few things I need you to understand.”
My brother and I looked at each other in panic. We were trapped in the boat, and about to get “the talk.”
“Here is the thing,” Dad says. “When you are out with girls, and get certain urges, just remember that if you would not do whatever it is in front of her mother, don’t do it.”
That was the end of “the talk.”
Turns out it is not a bad guiding principle for life.
Too bad our nation is going in a different direction. Mom is now legally prohibited from protecting her children’s safety by overseeing others’ behavior — and people who try to show her can be jailed.
After volunteers in Idaho surreptitiously recorded and publicized unsanitary processing of animals being slaughtered for human consumption, the national industry groups have been successful at passing state laws that make it illegal to film or broadcast unsanitary practices, cruelty to animals or dumping of tons of untreated hormone laden animal poop into public waterways. Nine states have passed laws (nicknamed AG-GAG laws) making it a crime for outsiders to record and disclose illegal activity in agriculture facilities, slaughterhouse and large animal feeding lots. Other states are considering passing similar legislation.
At the same time, the front ranks of taxpayer-funded public health defenders have been significantly reduced. In North Carolina, since 2008, the environmental protection budget has been cut 52 percent. Since 2011, in the water quality area alone, one out of every three jobs was eliminated, and legal protections in place to protect state inspectors from retaliation for reporting violations were removed.
Some citizens want to keep Mom’s eyes active.
The Ladies of The Lake is an woman’s volunteer organization located just north of Toronto, Canada, on the shores of Lake Simco. The lake, about 15 miles across, was dying from pollution from farms, factories and homes. The Ladies decided that they needed to attract some attention to the situation.
In 2006 The Ladies decided to launch a calendar featuring “cheeky not cheesy” photos of the neighborhood woman who cared about the lake — and surrounded the photos with disgusting facts about the lake’s pollution. Inspired by the 2003 movie “Calendar Girls,” about a similar effort in England, the project calendar sold 12,500 copies and raised over $247,000. They also produced a wonderful citizens guide to water pollution called “The Naked Truth — Going Behind The Science of Lake Simcoe.” Publication of the information forced government and polluters to clean up their act.
Other groups are using drones to fly over suspected polluters. One group is called Show Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK). They stunned the Las Vegas tourist crowd with upsetting videos of unsafe animal husbandry practices they had filmed with hidden cameras that they projected on movie screens towed behind cars along the tourist-loaded streets.
Leaders of the most visible of these efforts have been threatened with fines and jail for violating the “ag-gag” laws
For those groups that need scientific instruments to record unsafe conditions, it is now possible for citizen volunteers to use portable “sniffers” that take highly sophisticated measurements, and send them in to a central collection bank for analysis. These tools, costing around $200, were developed by citizen volunteers, and funded by KickStarter (an online crowdsourcing way for people to make small donations to support specific projects). The group is also developing cell phone apps for the same purpose. You can see more by googling “crowdsourced environmental monitoring.”
We have retreated a long way to get to a place where it is illegal to study and report behavior of those that may threaten the health of our loved ones or threaten the environmental cops if they try to protect us. Using modern technology and old-fashioned civic organizing, this trend can be reversed — but only if we behave like our parents would have when their vulnerable kids were entering risky waters.
To see the sources of facts used in this article and learn of other successful money- and life-saving programs that can be implemented locally to create a better future for our country, go to www.TheOptimisticFuturist.org
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