Seeing Is Important: Slaughterhouse Transparency Trending

The New York Times catches up with the Ag-Gag problem:

But a dozen or so state legislatures have had a different reaction: They proposed or enacted bills that would make it illegal to covertly videotape livestock farms, or apply for a job at one without disclosing ties to animal rights groups. They have also drafted measures to require such videos to be given to the authorities almost immediately, which activists say would thwart any meaningful undercover investigation of large factory farms.

Critics call them “Ag-Gag” bills.

Some of the legislation appears inspired by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a business advocacy group with hundreds of state representatives from farm states as members. The group creates model bills, drafted by lobbyists and lawmakers, that in the past have included such things as “stand your ground” gun laws and tighter voter identification rules.

One of the group’s model bills, “The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act,” prohibits filming or taking pictures on livestock farms to “defame the facility or its owner.” Violators would be placed on a “terrorist registry.”

Officials from the group did not respond to a request for comment.

Mercy For Animals argues that this sort of exposure is an example of how the factory farm industry’s pursuit of ag-gag laws is an over-reach that is backfiring by drawing MORE attention to the conditions of slaughterhouses (one can hope, I guess):

In response to a spate of undercover investigations that have uncovered horrific animal abuse and shocking food safety problems in meat, dairy, and egg production, the factory farming industry has been furiously lobbying to pass “ag-gag” laws designed to keep its cruel and unsanitary practices hidden from public view. But that effort seems to be backfiring, as scores of media outlets nationwide are throwing back the curtain on Big Ag and shining a bright light on the industry’s sickening practices…[snip]

…Here is just a sample of the ag-gag news coverage in only the last few weeks:

Associated Press: Bills Seek End To Farm Animal Abuse Videos

Mother Jones: Flies, Maggots, Rats, and Lots of Poop: What Big Ag Doesn’t Want You To See

Nightline: ‘Ag Gag’ Bills Target Hidden Cameras

Raw Story: Business Lobby Moves to Criminalize Filming Animal Abuse on Factory Farms

Bakersfield Californian: Cattle Industry Must Rethink ‘Ag-Gag’ Bill

Food Safety News: “Ag-Gag” Bills Getting Hearings Today in Nebraska, Arkansas and Tennessee

Salon: States Seek “Ag-Gag” Laws to Silence Farm Whistleblowers

Vice: Beat Your Meat: Factory Farmers Want to Choke Their Chickens in Private

Huffington Post: Why Everyone Should Be Angry About Factory Farming

Lowell Sun: Agri-farm Bills Would Weaken Oversight

The Daily Aztec: Only We Can Stop Inhumane Factory Farming

Herald Times: Bill would shield farms, factories from cameras

Public Source: Bill would limit whistleblower activities on PA farms

Ironically, as the factory farming industry more desperately tries to hide its cruel practices, the more they are exposed.

You can see why a farm owner might prefer that this sort of imagery be criminalized (instead of the behavior it shows).

But if this op-ed contributor to the Times got his way, I think we could definitely conclude that the ag-gag initiative backfired. He calls for a Continue reading “Seeing Is Important: Slaughterhouse Transparency Trending”