On 4th April 2023, the Missouri House of Representatives approved the plan of creating the offence of “interference with the transportation of livestock,” a class E felony for a person’s first offence and a class C felony for subsequent offences. This is aimed at stopping animal rights activists from blocking the transport of animals to slaughter — which is what the animal rights group Animal Save has been doing during the vigils that made them well known for. This bill needs one more vote in the House before going to the Missouri Senate for consideration.
Specifically, the proposed House Bill 576, sponsored by Rep. Brenda Shields, will make it an offence to interfere with animals being transported by motor vehicle, provoke or disturb animals in a motor vehicle, or place a substance on or near an animal that creates an unreasonable delay, harms the animals’ suitability for sale by those exploiting them or affects human or animal health. Rep. Emily Weber, D-Kansas City, said the state didn’t need to add more felonies to the books, and Rep. Marlon Anderson, D-St. Louis, said he thought the language defining a violation for impeding transport was too vague, adding “If I get into an altercation or an argument with a truck driver, I’m technically impeding the flow of traffic, so I could be charged with a class C felony.”
This is just another type of Ag-Gag law aimed at stopping the work of animal protection investigators in exposing the reality of the animal agriculture industry, although normally such laws deal with issues of trespassing into farms or whistleblowing. Although many US states are now losing such laws as higher courts are finding them unconstitutional, it seems that if this bill is passed, extending AG-Gag laws to vehicles outside premises may lead to a new fresh wave of this sort of legislation.