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Tip-line open to report farm animal abuse

Andrea Church

Whistleblowers in Michigan could earn up to a $5,000 reward if their tip leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the abuse of farm animals. The Humane Society of the United States has launched a national tip line where callers can report animal abuse at farms, slaughterhouses or livestock auctions.

Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States, says as a result of their undercover investigations, they have found animal abuse at factory farms and slaughterhouses is rampant in the U.S.

"Our exposes have found evidence of workers and management cruelly beating, kicking, dragging, even torturing animals, and this is the type of cruelty that simply has no place in our society and it needs to stop," he says.

The tip line is the result of some states passing "ag-gag" laws, such as Idaho, where it is now illegal to surreptitiously record farm operations.

"It's basically evidence of an industry that is grasping at straws, trying to keep Americans in the dark," Shapiro says. "You know that an industry has a lot to hide when they want to make it a crime to document the abuse of animals."

The tip line is especially for workers at farms and slaughterhouses, but anyone can call and report abuse, and also remain anonymous if they choose.

Michigan does not have a law against secretly  recording farm operations.

Last September an animal rights group released a video  showing workers abusing cows at a New Mexico farm that supplies dairy products for Ann Arbor based Domino's Pizza.

The Humane Society will investigate and verify all claims and up to $5,000 will be paid if the tip leads to an arrest and conviction of those who have committed acts of cruelty against farm animals. The hotline number is: 1-888-209-7177.