Last month, we told you about the unfortunate return of so-called “ag gag” bills in several states; these are bills which aim to criminalize whistleblowing exposés of the cruel realities of factory farming. In other words, agribusiness interests are trying to shut down undercover investigations in an effort to prevent Americans from finding out what really goes on behind the closed doors of the meat, milk, and egg industries.
Last week, COK — represented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund — filed a lawsuit against the California-based Cal-Cruz Hatcheries for unlawful business practices relating to undercover COK video footage documenting shockingly cruel conditions forced upon newly-hatched chicks. The complaint aims to stop the ongoing abuse of baby birds at this facility which hatches chicks destined to be slaughtered for their meat.
Last year, you may recall that four states–Florida, Iowa, Minnesota and New York– introduced so-called “ag gag” bills aimed at shutting down the efforts of animal protection organizations to go undercover to investigate factory farms and document the miserable conditions forced upon billions of farmed animals. While these state bills varied in content and scope, they were all supported by animal agribusiness and the mission was clear: keep animal cruelty hidden from public view by criminalizing the filming or photographing of an agricultural facility without the owner’s express consent.
Compassion Over Killing is teaming up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to represent us in a lawsuit filed today against Cal-Cruz Hatcheries. The complaint, filed in the California Superior Court, seeks to stop the alleged ongoing abuse of baby birds inside this Santa Cruz-based chicken hatchery that was exposed in the media in 2010 for shocking cruelty to animals as documented by a COK investigation.
Iowa’s legislative session has just ended, and with it, the Iowa “Ag Gag” bill’s chances of passing this year. With the failure of this bill, on the heels of the failure of New York’s similar bill last Friday, every one of the four legislative attempts made to silence the documentation of the brutal realities of factory farms have failed this year.
The New York legislative session ends today, rendering the state’s “Ag Gag” bill (S 5172) officially dead for the year. Had this bill passed, it would have made it illegal to conduct undercover exposés of factory farms in the state of New York.
This year, four states — Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, and New York — have introduced bills meant to shut down undercover investigations exposing the abuses behind the closed doors of animal agribusiness. While these bills have slightly different language, each one, if passed, would criminalize the act of taking of a photograph or videotaping farmed animal facilities without explicit permission from the owner.
These “ag-gag” bills are not only an attempt by animal agribusiness to hide the cruel and inhumane conditions on factory farms and inside slaughterhouses, but they also infringe on the freedoms of animal advocates and the press. Here is the current status of each bill: