Horse Haven asks Haslam to veto 'ag-gag'

8:39 AM, May 5, 2013   |    comments
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Governor Haslam has 10 days to decide whether to veto the so called 'Ag-Gag Bill' or allow it to become law.

It reached his desk Friday night.

The bill would put an end to extended or under cover agricultural animal abuse investigations in Tennessee.

Horse Haven Assistant Executive Director Sonja Cowsert say she has already called the governor to ask him for a veto.

"The ag-gag bill would make our life as investigators a lot more complicated," said Cowsert, who is also a certified animal cruelty investigator.

"The intent of this bill is to give agri-business a heads up when there is a problem," said Cowsert. "I've seen investigations where a perpetrator may get wind of an investigation and the evidence will disappear."

Representative Andy Holt is a co-sponsor of the bill. He told 10News last month he hopes the bill will protect the agricultural industry from becoming the target of animal rights organizations.

State Representative Holt said, "We want to keep radical animal activist groups like PETA and HSUS from collecting video over what we've seen as being months of investigation while their reported abuse is taking place."

Holt is also a swine farmer.

But Cowsert says sometimes those longer investigations are necessary.

Law enforcement may not have the time to conduct them on their own, said Cowsert. And sometimes they need to be presented with a wealth of evidence before they're prompted to get involved.

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease. And sometimes it takes a lot more than just one picture or one video," said Cowsert.

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