Criminalizing Factory Farm Whistleblowing

 

The horrendous animal cruelty videos recorded on factory farms by whistleblowers and undercover investigators pose a serious threat to agribusiness profits. As a result, the agribusiness lobby is campaigning to criminalize taking photos and videos of animal cruelty on factory farms and to brand similar activity as eco-terrorism. The effort to demonize the animal rights movement is shared by government agencies like the FBI, which stated that “the No. 1 domestic terrorism threat is the eco-terrorism, animal-rights movement,”  and government legislators like Florida Senator Jim Norman,  who considers undercover investigations to expose farm animal suffering to be “almost like terrorism.”  According to a recent article by ASPCA President, Ed Sayres,

[L]egislators in a number of states throughout the country are considering legislation known as ‘Ag-Gag’ bills that would cripple the ability of investigators to expose animal abuse and food safety concerns. Ag-Gag bills criminalize taking photos or videos on farms to expose problems, such as animal cruelty, environmental and labor violations, and other illegal or unethical behavior.
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Legislators bent on suppressing exposés through the passage of Ag-Gag legislation are not only harming animals, but putting all of us -- including our children -- in jeopardy by preventing our access to critical information about our food supply. They also threaten our constitutional rights by stifling dissemination of information and chipping away at our First Amendment protections.”
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The individuals targeted by Ag-Gag laws are not the criminals who are beating or stabbing animals (as seen on some undercover videos). Instead, the bills would punish the whistleblowers, the people who dare to lift the veil on these oft-hidden cruelties.

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