State Sen. Patty Ritchie is the target of an online petition launched by animal rights activists who don't want her to support what's called an "ag gag" measure.
Basically, the law would make it illegal to secretly film on farms. Filing is a crucial weapon in the fight against animal abuse, advocates say. The measure is just a way of preventing exposure of unsanitary and cruel conditions.
But farm groups say: We just want the same protection as other businesses: to kick people out who are secretly filming.
To which the (persuasive) animal-rights activists say: You already have those protections. Right now, you don't have to let someone on your farm to film. This is, in fact, an extraordinary layer of protection, even more than a bank or a pop fountain might have.
The bill died on the vine. It never saw action in the full state Senate.
This issue is a sore one. Mrs. Ritchie's spokesman tells me that she's still reviewing the legislation and hasn't made up her mind on whether she supports it.
The blow back was swift at first. A few days after my story on the ag-gag bill came out, the Watertown Times editorial board offered support support for it. And the day after that, I heard someone on the other end of the office say something to the effect of: "Um... It's PETA on the line. They want to talk."
As our four-legged friend Scooby Doo would say: Ruh-roh!