Rebuttal exercise–Douglasadams525

Antagonistic 1

Apart from the obvious ethical concerns, Ag-Gag laws also threaten public health and the environment, and undermine workers’ rights and free speech laws. Undercover investigations at factory farms have exposed the mishandling of meat, eggs and milk in ways that could potentially lead to health risks including mad cow disease, salmonella, e-coli and others.”

The author of this article incorrectly assumes that there is only a single method of reporting health concerns. Anyone who has even a remote understanding of food industry will be able to verify that routine inspections of facilities in which food is processed or prepared do indeed take place. The executors of these inspections are responsible for reporting improper conditions, especially diseases such as, in the words of the author,” mad cow disease, salmonella, e-coli, and others.” This claim is a gross exaggeration, and pretends that ag-gag laws prevent any and all methods of reporting health concerns.

Antagonistic 2

Documentation of environmental violations at factory farms is crucial in getting the government to impose progressive changes in the way that industrial farming impacts the environment.”

While this claim asserts that there are multiple ways in which industrial farming affects the environment, the claim provides no evidence to support itself. Not a single method of impact is named. Furthermore, the claim does not name any such environmental violations, nor does it show how ag-gag laws are related to the environment—there is nothing present to imply that ag-gag laws are related to anything but animal cruelty.

Supportive 1

With 98% of farms and ranches in the U.S. family owned and operated, I know that today’s food is grown by people who care about the animals, the environment and the final retail product.”

This claim cleverly uses statistics to lie. While it may be true that 98% of farms and ranches are family owned, this is only a representation of the total number of farms and ranches in the United States. It does not, however, give any context about the size of these farms. By this reasoning, there is nothing to say that these 2% of farms that are not family owned are not, in fact, gargantuan in comparison to the other 98%. There is nothing to say that the 98% of farms may only be home to 20% of the animals. If this is true, today’s food may not, in fact, be “grown by people who care about the animals[.]”

Supportive 2

“The law defines an agricultural facility as “any structure or land, whether privately or publicly owned, leased or operated, that is being used for agricultural production” (emphasis added), and makes it a crime for virtually anyone to film or photograph in such places without express consent. But with such a broad definition, the law could potentially apply not only to factory farms and slaughterhouses like ag gag laws in other states, but also to public parks, restaurants, nursing homes, grocery stores, pet stores, and virtually every public establishment and private residence in Idaho, according to the lawsuit.”

 

This claim is simply preposterous in its massive exaggeration. It names many places that could potentially be considered agricultural facilities, but it offers no explanation. Public parks, while sometimes home to a few geese, are generally not used for agriculture—the park does not exist for the purpose of raising geese to be slaughtered and eaten; it exists for the purpose of outdoor exercise and entertainment. Restaurants are used for food preparation and production, but not for the purpose of raising the actual animals. When restaurants receive meat, it has already been raised and killed.  This is the essence of agriculture, and it is not the reason that restaurants exist. Cooking is not agriculture, and therefore canot reasonably be affected by ag-gag laws. Suggesting that nursing homes are agricultural facilities is a truly disturbing concept, as it implies that nursing homes only exist so that the elderly may be raised, killed, and then eaten. Unless there is a dark secret behind the clean and sterile exterior of nursing homes, this is certainly not the case, and nursing homes can most certainly not be considered an agricultural facility. Grocery stores are not agricultural facilities by the same reasoning that restaurants are not—the meat that grocery stores receive has already been killed, and is not raised in the store itself. Pet stores are also a frightening exaggeration, as it suggests that we have been misinterpreting the term “dog food” all along. Unless pet stores exist solely for the purpose of raising animals for food—which is both illegal and uncommon in the United States—this claim is simply not correct.

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