A bill aimed at punishing those who report animal cruelty has been introduced to the Illinois General Assembly. Sponsored by Republican Senator Chapin Rose, SB 1532 aims to punish people speaking out against animal abuse. The bill seeks to amend the Humane Care for Animals Act by allowing the Department of Agriculture to press criminal charges against a complainant if they “determine” that a complaint made under the act was made with intent to harass the person or entity in question.
As in the similar ag-gag and anti-camera drone bills being introduced in various states recently, the legislation would empower those who commit animal cruelty behind closed doors. Animal welfare groups have criticized the Department of Agriculture for protecting, supporting and promoting animal industries.
Illinois based animal protection group, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) is opposing the bill. SHARK president, Steve Hindi states, “This is an outrageous effort to silence those amongst us who have the courage to stand up to animal abusers and speak out about what they see.” He goes on to say, “The animal abusing industries are obviously running scared and are using political connections to hide their illegal activity.”
Currently five states, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Utah and North Dakota have ag-gag laws in place. This year New Hampshire, Wyoming, Indiana, Nebraska, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee have introduced whistleblower bills. Florida, Minnesota, and New York rejected similar bills last year. Montana and Virginia recently passed anti-camera drone legislation. With the exception of the Montana anti-camera drone bill, all the bills are designed to directly target and criminalize those involved in revealing animal abuse.
The SHARK video exposing Senator Chapin Rose;
SHARK is a US registered 501©(3) tax-deductible non-profit charity. SHARK’s mission is to nonviolently battle animal abuse whenever and wherever possible
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