[ Video is no longer available. ]
About 60 demonstrators massed at the Capitol steps this afternoon to voice their disagreement with Senate Bill 1337, which would criminalize whistle-blowing against animal abuses at Idaho dairies and farms.
The demonstrators held placards with messages like "Say No to Ag-Gag" and "Bad for Consumers, Animals & Food Safety." They wore all black with strips of black duct tape—a spokesman for the event, Director of Investigations for Mercy for Animals Matt Rice
, said they symbolize how the so-called "ag-gag" bill would curtail First Amendment freedoms. While the group had convened on the Capitol steps, however, it was there to send a message to Idahoans who may be ignorant of animal-rights abuses in the state.
"When they find out that factory farms are trying to keep these abuses from them, they're rightfully angry," Rice said.
A demonstrator voicing her concern with the so-called "ag-gag" bill brought her white Labrador along.
The demonstration was, not unexpectedly, pet friendly. Hailee Wood had brought along her two dogs. Wood said that Mo, her golden retriever, had been a breeder at a purebred puppy mill. When she rescued Mo four years ago, she said the dog was terrified of men and shoes.
"This dog was abused. It's wrong for people to abuse animals," she said.
Nearby, Karissa Wood pulled a wagon loaded with her young daughter and two small pigs. She said she had seen the video leaked by Mercy for Animals, and was worried that the bill was a front to cover up similar animal abuses at Idaho's dairies.
"They're obviously trying to hide something, to me," she said. "There's a difference between humanely doing something and not humanely doing something," she said.