Ag-Gag Laws –Why You Should Be Concerned

A recent poll conducted for the ASPCA revealed that 94% of the general American public agrees that farm animals throughout their lives, “… should be treated in a way that inflicts the least amount of pain and suffering possible.”

Unfortunately, many people also believe that there are animal welfare laws that protect them from cruelty on factory farms. This is patently untrue. The few laws that are in existence are rarely upheld, and there are many sidesteps around them giving agribusiness free rein to treat animals abhorrently. Just see some undercover videos, such as, to get an idea of what really goes on.

These are not unusual occurrences.

The HSUS found cases of forced cannibalism at Kentucky’s Iron Maiden Hog Farm, where piglets’ intestines were ground up and fed to their mothers. At Wyoming Premium Farms workers were found kicking live piglets like soccer balls, swinging sick piglets in circles by their hind legs, striking mother pigs with their fists and repeatedly and forcefully kicking them as they resisted leaving their young.

In an effort to stop these abuses, animal protection organizations take undercover videos to document as evidence. It is a good thing that they do because it is one of the only ways the general public would find out. Workers in slaughterhouses risk retaliation and intimidation for speaking up.

If only that were enough to help these innocent creatures. It isn’t. In an egregious abuse of power by a few wealthy agribusiness companies, agricultural gag laws, a.k.a. Ag-gag laws, have now been instituted so that whistleblowers can be criminally convicted for gathering evidence of animal abuse.

Penalties range from one year in prison and a $1,000.00 fine, to $5,000 fine per day for each day spent collecting evidence. Six states now have them on the books. They are:

  • Kansas
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Utah

There were seven states – Idaho was just struck down in 2015 as a violation of free speech and equal protection.

Not only is this ludicrous, but it poses a serious threat on several levels:

  • Our First Amendment of free speech. This includes not only recording videos, but also possessing and distributing the videos taken on factory farms.
  • Food safety and health risks that include salmonella, mad cow disease and other potentially fatal diseases.
  • The environment. Massive amounts of waste are generated on factory farms and history has shown repeated and flagrant abuses of regulations requiring proper storage and disposal. This threatens our soil and water.

Animals deserve to be protected and consumers have a right to know how their food is produced. If there were nothing to hide, then there wouldn’t be a need for a cover-up.

If you live in a state where an ag-gag law exists, contact your Senators and Congressman to let them know that the legislation is unconstitutional and should repealed. Then post it on social media sites to spread the word.


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