Ag-Gag: Media Blows Whistle on Anti-Whistleblower Bills

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Update: On April 22, The Tennessean featured an editorial urging Tennessee Governor Haslam to veto the state’s ag-gag bill that has passed through the state house and senate. The editorial calls the bill “despicable and unconstitutional.” Want ag-gag alerts and updates? Sign up for our eNews.

Animal agribusiness interests are working feverishly to pass state-level anti-whistleblower laws aimed at criminalizing undercover investigations. In 2012, such laws passed in Iowa and Utah, and so far this year, “ag-gag” bills have been introduced in nearly a dozen states. Why are the meat, egg, and dairy industries trying to so hard to silence whistleblowers?

In recent years, Compassion Over Killing and other animal protection organizations have released undercover videos filmed inside factory farms and slaughterhouses that have revealed shocking horrors. This footage is not only causing public outrage, but it has also led to criminal convictions of animal cruelty, slaughter plant shutdowns, and serious food safety concerns prompting the nation’s largest meat recall in history. Rather than stopping the routine abuses its forces upon animals, Big Ag is flexing its lobbying muscles to stop the American public from simply finding out about it.

These acts of desperation by animal agribusiness are not going unnoticed, and scores of media outlets are blowing the whistle on these anti-whistleblower bills.

The New York Times also ran a cover feature about the meat industry’s efforts to ban investigations, and a few days later, its editorial board condemned the industry’s effort, noting “the ag-gag laws guarantee one thing for certain: increased distrust of American farmers.”

On March 27, the Los Angeles Times editorialized that California’s ag-gag bill (AB343) “should be put out of its misery and killed quickly in committee.”  According to the Associated Press, that bill is now dead after the sponsor pulled it from today’s schedule just a few hours before it was to be voted on in the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

Similar stories highlighting the perils of ag-gag laws have also appeared in dozens of other media outlets – from NPR to the Associated Press to CNN to Democracy Now to Aljazeera.

There’s no doubt that by going to such desperate lengths to prevent Americans from seeing what hidden cameras capture on film behind closed doors, Big Ag has proven that it in fact has something to hide: the truth.

The truth is exactly what undercover investigators are exposing. That’s why COK’s undercover investigators need your support to continue shining a bright light on the cruelties kept hidden behind the closed doors of animal agribusiness. And the animals need your voice – please join our efforts today.

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