Pressure is mounting on North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to veto the state’s overreaching and dangerous ag-gag bill. McCrory has until Friday to sign or veto the bill, or not take action and let it automatically become law. The bill, pushed by North Carolina agribusiness groups, is designed to punish whistleblowers who expose cruelty, whether at senior centers, child care centers, or factory farms.
AARP, the nation’s organization advocating for senior citizens, added its voice to the chorus of opponents of the bill this week with a statement urging Gov. McCrory to veto the bill. “Protections for businesses should not jeopardize the health, safety and security of North Carolina’s citizens and most vulnerable populations,” the statement said.
Yesterday, the Charlotte Observer, the state’s biggest newspaper, asked Gov. McCrory to “ship [the bill] back to the legislature” because most North Carolinians and scrupulous business owners oppose it.
“This bill is flawed for many reasons,” the editorial said. “It punishes the person who reveals the illegal act, rather than the business that commits it… it raises constitutional questions, limiting a person’s free speech rights based on the content of the speech, even if it’s truthful.”
Last week, we released a powerful new television ad in North Carolina that demonstrates just how far-reaching this law would be.
Earlier this year, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey vetoed an ag-gag bill. And Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam vetoed a similar bill two years ago.
Also earlier this year, the Charlotte-based Compass Group – the world’s largest food service providers – announced yet another set of strong animal welfare policies. With Walmart’s announcement last week embracing the “Five Freedoms” of farm animal welfare, lawmakers in North Carolina are running at odds with what’s happening in our culture and in corporate America.
Our hope is that Gov. McCrory sees where the nation is moving, and stops this rearguard action in its tracks.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include AARP’s statement on H.B. 405.