Animal advocates want governor to veto Ag Gag bill

Animal advocates want governor to veto Ag Gag bill

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Groups like Horse Haven and the Humane Society are pushing back. Groups like Horse Haven and the Humane Society are pushing back.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A bill dubbed the "Ag Gag Bill" is sparking outrage from Tennessee animal advocates.

The bill requires anyone who shoots video of animal cruelty to submit those images to law enforcement within 48 hours.

It has passed the state House and the Senate and is now in the hands of Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature or veto.

"Any good investigator knows it takes more than 48 hours to make a case that stands up in court," explained Nina Margetson, with Horse Haven of Tennessee.

Margetson says it sometimes takes animal advocacy groups weeks or months to gain enough video to make a cruelty case that will hold up in court.

Proponents of the bill say it protects animals as well as the agriculture business.

"I look at this as the same way as child abuse. If we know someone had videotaped a child being abused and they said they were not going to report it to the police, we'd be outraged," Sen. Stacey Campfield said earlier this month.

Margetson says it's not that simple. She says law enforcement in some communities don't always respond to animal abuse the way advocates would like them to.

"They're going to turn a blind eye or pre-warn them that something's going to happen, and then the animals are moved,"  Margetson says.

Groups like Horse Haven and the Humane Society are pushing back.

Even singer Carrie Underwood has joined the push. She said on Twitter, "If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door."

"This bill is not going to stop the abuse that's out there," Margetson said.

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