North Carolina came very close to criminalizing some of our nation’s greatest heroes: undercover investigators. The state’s recently passed House Bill 405 was designed to punish whistleblowers who uncover criminal activity and abuse in factory farms.
Though it was opposed by a majority of the state’s residents and countless animal and human rights groups, the bill still managed to pass the state senate.
Thankfully, Governor McCrory went with a veto.
“While I support the purpose of this bill, I believe it does not adequately protect or give clear guidance to honest employees who uncover criminal activity. I am concerned that subjecting these employees to potential civil penalties will create an environment that discourages them from reporting illegal activities,” the governor wrote in a press release.
Animal advocacy groups like Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing and the Humane Society of the U.S. worked tirelessly to help make the veto happen, rallying together to influence the governor’s decision. Had it been enacted, the bill would have made it illegal for employees to record or remove employer data or records; to record images or sound on employer’s property; to leave an unattended camera to film; and to seek employment for the purpose of exposing animal abuse, environmental harms, or food safety issues.
This bill would have been disastrous for the welfare of countless farmed animals—thankfully, the governor heard the voices of animal lovers everywhere, and made the right choice.