A few weeks ago, I mentioned that a number of states have enacted laws that make it illegal to make undercover video of animal cruelty on farms. Well, a front-page article in today's NYT (below the fold) reveals that--surprise!--ALEC is driving the bus on many of these so-called "ag-gag bills."
Among the ALEC model bills on this topic is the "Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act," or AETA for short. This bill, first drafted and approved by ALEC's board of directors in 2004, would label anyone who tapes farm cruelty as a terrorist. No, this isn't snark--read it for yourself here. (ALEC Exposed got a screenshot as well). This bill would bar anyone from filming or taking pictures on farms if they intend to "defame the facility or its owner." Violators would be placed on a "terrorist registry" for at least three years. In other words--if you videotape an act of animal cruelty, this bill would put you in the same category as tree spikers and other real eco-terrorists.
If there was ever proof of how dangerous ALEC is, this is it.
2:47 PM PT: If it could possibly get worse, Catte Nappe in the comments reveals that Indiana and Missouri are considering constitutional amendments that would effectively foreclose any law to protect farm animals' welfare. Sheer madness.
3:40 PM PT: MNDem999 reveals in the comments that as bad as this bill was, it was originally even worse. According to an ALEC press release from 2003, the original bill would have subjected anyone who finances and assists "animal and ecological terrorists" to asset forfeiture proceedings. In other words--if you help someone who tapes acts of animal mistreatment, you could potentially lose your house. While real eco-terrorists deserve to have the book thrown at them, this is yet another case of a good idea getting mangled into a bad one in the hands of the wingnuts.