Disruptions in livestock transportation can prove detrimental to livestock, but that hasn’t stopped animal-rights activists from looking for ways to disrupt the livestock industry during transport.
A new bill in the state of Missouri, signed by Gov. Mike Parson, looks to solve the issue. The measure, called the Offense of Interference with Transportation of Livestock, is rolled into a larger public safety package.
Initially sponsored by Missouri Rep. Brenda Shields, the bill criminalizes anyone who interferes with transportation under the following circumstances:
- If the person knowingly stops or interferes with a motor vehicle transporting livestock.
- Provokes or disturbs livestock when the livestock is confined in motor vehicles.
- Places a substance on the livestock that affects its health or use.
The new bill makes offenses with livestock a class E felony for first offenses and a class C felony for subsequent violations.
Shields told news outlets that she sponsored the bill because a large pork processing plant in her district had problems transferring hogs.
Activists “would slow down or stop the truck. They would throw tainted water into the truck, or they would put hypodermic needles into the hogs, and it would really affect the entire process,” she said.
Inferences don’t just negatively impact animal welfare; the production losses incurred by plants after interference could be passed onto consumers.
“The processor expects that pig hasn’t been tampered with,” said Shields. “They can go through the entire process to the plant, making sure that that pig is clean and free of any contaminants. And if they come across one of these hypodermic needles, the entire plant shuts down until they can find the source of where these have come. The entire line is cleaned, so we lose production time.”
»Related: Report: Animal activist groups raked in $800 million in 2022