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States seek “ag-gag” laws to silence farm whistleblowers

Farm Report

So-called “ag-gag” bills, which protect factory farms from potential undercover whistleblowers have been recently introduced in five states. “This week, the Indiana Senate is debating a proposal to criminalize taking photographs or videos inside an agricultural or industrial operation without permission,” Think Progress reported.

States seek “ag-gag” laws to silence farm whistleblowers

Laws specifically target whistleblowers and reporters revealing animal cruelty and poor conditions in factory farms

By Natasha Lennard
February 27, 2013
Salon.com

So-called “ag-gag” bills, which protect factory farms from potential undercover whistleblowers have been recently introduced in five states. “This week, the Indiana Senate is debating a proposal to criminalize taking photographs or videos inside an agricultural or industrial operation without permission,” Think Progress reported.

As Grist noted last month, “in 2011 and 2012, Iowa, Utah, and Missouri all enacted some version of an anti-whistleblower ag-gag law, while similar proposals were struck down in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, and Tennessee. These laws are specifically designed to stop whistleblowers providing evidence of animal abuse or other poor practices from reaching the media or animal rights groups. As TP noted:

Since trespassing is already illegal, ag gag laws can only have one clear motive: to punish whistleblowers, advocates, and investigative reporters who use undercover recordings to reveal the abysmal conditions in which our food is produced. Undercover investigations have captured factory farms all over the country abusing livestock, passing off sick cattle as healthy, and discharging unregulated amounts of animal manure, which the US Geological Survey identified as the largest source of nitrogen pollution in the country.

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