Editorial: Who Protects the Animals?

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Mark Bittman


04/26/2011 - Getting caught is a drag.

Just ask Kirt Espenson, whose employees at E6 Cattle Company in Southwest Texas were videotaped bashing cows’ heads in with pickaxes and hammers and performing other acts of unspeakably sickening cruelty.

Yet if some state legislators have their way, horrific but valuable videos like that one will never be made.

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The problem is the system that enables cruelty and a lack not just of law enforcement but actual laws. Because the only federal laws governing animal cruelty apply to slaughterhouses, where animals may spend only minutes before being dispatched. None apply to farms, where animals are protected only by state laws.

And these may be moving in the wrong direction. In their infinite wisdom the legislatures of Iowa, Minnesota, Florida and others are considering measures that would punish heroic videographers like the one who spent two weeks as an E6 employee, who was clearly traumatized by the experience. (I spoke to him on the phone Saturday, with a guarantee of anonymity.)

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Read the full editorial Who Protects the Animals? on The New York Times' Web site.

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