Free Enterprise

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) advocates “limited government and free markets.” They campaign against clean air and clean water, and favor legislation that allows routine animal cruelty.

The ALEC on the “EPA’s regulatory train wreck“: “While pending regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act (despite Congressional rejection of cap-and-trade) has received the lion’s share of the attention, the Environmental Protection Agency has also begun developing and finalizing a slew of overreaching and inefficient air and water rules over the next several years that will dramatically increase energy costs, cause enormous negative impacts to jobs and the economy, irreparably damage the competitiveness of American business.”

Translation: companies ought to be able to pump out as much pollution as necessary without paying for it. No doubt the ALEC looks approvingly at China as a model in this area.

The New York Times reports on another facet of business-as-usual in the agricultural sector: “On one covert video, farm workers illegally burn the ankles of Tennessee walking horses with chemicals. Another captures workers in Wyoming punching and kicking pigs and flinging piglets into the air. And at one of the country’s largest egg suppliers, a video shows hens caged alongside rotting bird corpses, while workers burn and snap off the beaks of young chicks.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation, a lobbyist for the agricultural and meat industries, while criticizing gratuitous violence against livestock, considers routine animal abuse “best practices.” In contrast, a typical response by the Feds, and some local authorities, has been to recognize such activity as a crime.

The ALEC views that as officious interference which defames livestock farmers. The ALEC reaction has been to provide draft legislation to protect farmers, and to criminalize agricultural whistle-blowing.

Republican legislators in farm states have been quick to press for passing the ALEC-drafted law. The Humane Society of the United States observes: “Instead of working to prevent future abuses, the factory farms want to silence them.”

Richard A. Oppel Jr., ” Taping of farm cruelty is becoming the crime,” The New York Times (6 April 2013).
The American Legislative Exchange Council web site (2013).