What are "Ag-Gag" Laws
Ag-Gag is the term used to describe a series of anti-whistleblower laws in the U.S. Though they vary in details,
the essence of these laws is that they criminalize the taking of undercover videos of abusive practices in the
animal agriculture industry. Some of these laws criminalize the taking of videos documenting inhumane factory
farming practices without the owner's consent, while others criminalize the application for employment in
factory farms without disclosing the applicant's links to the press or to organizations concerned with animal
welfare. A third variant, which pretends to help the animals, requires that any evidence of abuse be turned over
to authorities in a very short period of time, usually 24 or 48 hours. This kind of Ag-Gag bill is more subtle
than the others but is just as harmful in that it would alert the abusers early in the process and preclude the
gathering of evidence necessary to a successful cruelty prosecution.
The result of these laws is to make exposure of abusive practices to the public extremely difficult in the states which have passed them. In the real world, how often will factory farm owners and managers consent to have their practices filmed and how many will employ people with links to PETA or HSUS? The Food Integrity Campaign of the Government Accountability Project, a non profit, describes the situation as follows:
"When it comes to bringing horrific truths to the public eye, undercover footage and images are often an effective outlet for whistleblowers who otherwise risk retaliation when speaking up. Going through "proper channels" to report abuse often results in supervisors intimidating those employees who have made complaints to keep quiet. Statements by Ag Gag bill sponsors imply that "real" whistleblowers have a safe and effectual means for speaking up, when history shows that's often not the case."
Ag-gag laws have already passed in several states and bills proposing them are pending in many others. These
bills have usually passed in states with powerful livestock lobbies and have generally been rejected in states
with a more humane orientation.
Which side do you want to be on in this raging battle?- Larry