FRESNO, Calif. – The California anti-whistleblower “ag-gag” legislation, Assembly Bill 343 backed by the California Cattlemen’s Association, has been withdrawn by Assemblymember Jim Patterson, R-Fresno – the bill’s author – after facing widespread opposition. California is one of 11 states that have introduced ag-gag legislation this year that seeks to criminalize whistleblowing on slaughter plants among other facilities.

AB 343 would have obstructed whistleblowers’ ability to expose perceived illegal and inhumane activity on agribusiness operations by forcing them to turn over documented evidence within 120 hours of commencing an investigation – preventing them from adequately documenting evidence and patterns of abuse, charged The Humane Society of the US. AB 343 was amended last week to expressly exempt footage of animal cruelty “inadvertently captured” by surveillance cameras owned by agribusiness operations, HSUS added.

“We are pleased to see the bill shelved,” said Jennifer Fearing, California state director for the HSUS. “Industrial farming operations should be run so well that videos could never capture anything they wouldn’t want their customers to see.”