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These uber-wealthy corporate monsters don’t want the unbelievable cruelty exposed to an outraged public, instead they want it to continue in secret, undiscovered, as the animals suffer indescribable pain.
Third-party investigations into large-scale agricultural enterprises, and the benefits they reap for society, have a long and storied history in this country dating back over century, when publication of The Jungle exposed conditions inside meatpacking plants and led directly to federal regulation of that industry. Indeed, many of the advances in animal protection laws have succeeded because of the clear documentation provided by concerned individuals. But due to the many undercover videos that have shown the public how animals are mistreated at factory farms, some agribusiness enterprises are working to make sure such evidence can no longer be gathered without serious consequences, including jail time.
So-called “ag-gag” bills were introduced in Florida, Iowa and Minnesota this year—and we can expect to see more states introduce these bills in the years to come, warns Ann Church, ASPCA Senior Director of Legislative Affairs for the Southeast Region.
“This is a trend that is not going away,” says Church, “and to grant factory farms this level of protection is not only bad for the animals, it’s deeply concerning from a First Amendment, free speech standpoint. When the safety of our nation’s food supply is at stake, we should all be working for more transparency, not less.”
From the massive recall of Hallmark beef in 2008, the result of video depicting workers forcing downed cattle into the meat supply, to the recent video of calf abuse at a Texas ranch:
We’ve seen time and again the vital role undercover investigations play in policing an industry that is unwilling or unable to police itself. Laws to cover up animal abuse do not make it go away: Rather than stop animal cruelty, ag-gag bills will simply ensure that the public never learns about it. Adds Church: “If big agribusiness would put as much effort into providing humane care as they do trying to justify and cover up cruelty, animals and consumers alike would benefit.”
Minnesota’s ag-gag bills are still pending; Florida’s and Iowa’s have died, but not before garnering great support in their respective legislatures. Please help the ASPCA fight ag-gag bills and join their Advocacy Brigade to stay up-to-date on this disturbing legislative trend.
Please join now to help our helpless creatures, and don’t forget to let us know what you think in the comments section.
This article was originally published at MMA on May 14, 2011. It is important enough to republish. I hope you share it well.