Senator Cory Booker, D, N.J. has introduced legislation that would place the liability for responsible disaster mitigation on animal agriculture “corporations and industrial operators” by requiring those entities to register with USDA, submit disaster preparedness plans, and pay a fee to establish a fund focused on disaster events. The new fund, the High-Risk AFO Disaster Mitigation Fund, would be utilized to enforce disaster mitigation plans and ensure that the most humane practices are used if depopulation is absolutely necessary.
The Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act also seeks to ending line-speed increases and meatpacker self-inspection programs, “closing regulatory loopholes to prohibit the slaughter of all downed animals, and requiring more humane treatment of livestock transported for long periods.”
Lastly, the legislation seeks to invest resources for greater welfare slaughter technology in meat and poultry processing facilities and establish a pilot program to train and employ more part-time inspectors for small processing plants.
“We’ve seen multiple recent crises that have shined a light on the threat that corporate meat producers and their web of factory farms represent to workers, animals, the environment, and rural communities. Built by agribusinesses, the industrial livestock and poultry system is designed to maximize production– while externalizing risk and liability– to ensure corporate profits even when the system fails,” said Senator Booker. “The Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act would place the liability for disasters where it belongs–on the corporations and industrial operators who profit the most from factory farming and ensure farmed animals are not subjugated to cruel and inhumane practices.”
Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO, commented: "Most Americans would be shocked to learn that taxpayers are often footing the bill when animals on factory farms are killed in cruel ways, and that billions of chickens and turkeys are not legally protected from suffering at slaughter. We applaud Senator Booker for introducing the landmark Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act, which would provide new protections for farmed animals and hold corporations accountable for the true costs of factory farming.”
In addition to the ASPCA, organizations support the bill include the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Mercy For Animals, Natural Resources Defense Council, Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey, Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Center for Food Safety.
The full text of the bill can be found here.
The list of supporting organizations can be found here.