A huge development has emerged as food integrity supporters continue to monitor Idaho's potential passing of its anti-whistleblower Ag Gag bill.
As the legislation reached Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter's desk for approval yesterday (after both state houses passed the controversial measure), FIC and our coalition partners decided to put pressure on yogurt company Chobani and dairy giant Darigold to step in and urge the governor to veto the bill.
After a day of tweets, messages and petitions, Chobani heard the call for transparency and responded in kind.
This morning, Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya spoke out against Idaho's Ag Gag bill, stating:
A bill is up for approval in Idaho that, if passed, would limit transparency and make some instances of exposing the mistreatment of animals in the state punishable by imprisonment. This could cause the general public concern and conflicts with our views and values.
As someone who grew up on a farm, I believe deeply that the humane treatment of animals is an ethical and moral imperative and, having spent a lot of time in upstate New York and Idaho, I know hundreds of farmers feel the same.
When I founded Chobani, it was based around these core values and principles. And we chose Idaho for Chobani's second home because of its deep farming culture, sense of community and shared values.
So I am joining many folks across the country in asking Governor Otter to reconsider the bill before him."
Ulukaya should be praised for such a brave move that's the right thing for the public good. Let's hope this action by such an influential company – with operations in Idaho itself – will convince Gov. Otter to keep institutionalized secrecy out of the state!
Sarah Damian is New Media Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.