George Knapp was joined by Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the US, along with undercover investigator Cody Carlson and public policy manager Matthew Dominguez, for a discussion on how animal activists have infiltrated big agricultural operations and exposed the terrible horrors that go on inside. Pacelle observed that, while the Humane Society is concerned about a variety of threats to animals, the factory farming industry is particularly distressing because it effects billions of creatures that are both incredibly mistreated as well as overlooked by the general public that would rather not know about the extreme means by which their food is obtained. He described factory farms as massive facilities where hundreds or thousands of animals, such as cows, pigs, and chickens, are housed in tiny cages where they are raised for food.
Pacelle detailed one Humane Society operation where a member of the group went undercover inside a major diary farm in California. The investigation showed how cows at the facility were milked to the point of exhaustion and, ultimately, collapsed from the stress. These 'downer cows,' as they are called in the industry, were then dragged or pushed into slaughterhouses where they were, stunningly, turned into meat to be used for the national school lunch program. As a result of the investigation, Pacelle said, the USDA recalled a stunning 143 million pounds of beef that had been produced from the plant. Carlson, who personally participated in a number of undercover investigations, also described witnessing shocking conditions that animals in factory farms were forced to endure.
In response to the undercover work being done by animal activists at factory farms, the agriculture industry has now begun pushing for "Ag Gag" laws that aim to thwart such investigations. Different forms of the legislature, which has been passed in seven states, makes it illegal to photograph or videotape a farm without permission and outlaws animal activists from getting jobs at factory farms. Additionally, the law would require anyone with evidence of animal cruelty to turn over their information within 24 hours or else they, themselves, will be prosecuted. The guests lamented that, without the surreptitiously garnered evidence for animal abuse on factory farms, it would be nearly impossible to enlighten the public about the situation nor gain the support of legislators for tougher regulations.
In the first hour, researcher and activist Dane Wigington commented on Oklahoma's decision to charge people who install their own solar panels. He explained that the law is based on claims that there are extraordinary costs associated with putting self-generated power back into the system. However, he claimed that "that excuse is nonsense" and that the power supplied to a standard home far exceeds what a solar energy-producing home could generate and contribute to the 'grid.' Wigington contended that the Oklahoma law is merely part of a larger anti-solar agenda at work from the 'powers that be,' which includes the reduction of subsidies for those who adopt the technology as well as climate engineering which results in global dimming and the overall reduction in power harnessed by solar panels.
George Knapp shares some news items that have recently caught his attention, including articles on animal cruelty at farms, an eerie spate of farmer suicides, and the debate over dolphins at amusement parks: