BOISE, Idaho - Governor Butch Otter has just signed controversial Senate Bill 1337 into law, which makes it a crime for anyone, other than the farm itself to report animal cruelty on a farm. It also makes it illegal for undercover investigators to work on factory farms to investigate animal cruelty concerns.
Violators of this law will face one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. "Senate Bill 1337 is about agriculture producers being secure in their property and their livelihood," Otter said in a statement.
Matthew Daniels, a representative from the Global Conservation Group says "It truly is a sad day for Idaho. Governor C. L. Butch Otter signed a bill into law that makes it illegal to report animal cruelty on farms. This law is a blatant violation of the First Amendment and our Division of Legal Affairs will be reviewing the matter in an effort to repeal the measure."
The organization says they will make an effort to repeal the new law to protect the welfare of animals raised for meat and dairy.
Below is the Global Conservation Group's letter to the Governor:
February 28, 2014
Office of the Governor
Governor Butch Otter
P.O. Box: 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720
Dear Mr. Governor,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Global Conservation Group, a leading animal welfare organization from Wisconsin. As an organization from the dairy state, we understand the importance of securing and protecting animal agriculture, however Senate Bill 1337, which you signed into law today severely impairs well intentioned individuals from reporting animal cruelty that occur on factory farms.
Senate Bill 1337 is a blatant violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, animal welfare, food safety and journalism.
I have instructed our Division of Legal Affairs to review this matter in an effort to repeal the measure. Imprisoning United States citizens simply for reporting a violation of the law is not what we expected from Idaho. These laws are increasingly similar to those of Russia's anti-free speech regulations.
Thank you for your time and we look forward to working with you to repeal this law.
Jordan W. Turner
Global Conservation Group, Inc.