Last month, disturbing video footage of workers viciously abusing turkeys at a North Carolina Butterball facility was released by the group Mercy for Animals. Five workers now face criminal charges for the alleged animal cruelty. Without such investigations, the mistreatment of farmed animals would rarely be exposed—and that is exactly what factory farms are hoping for.
They are known as “ag-gag” bills, and they are popping up in state legislatures across the nation. Most ag-gag bills seek to criminalize taking unauthorized photos or videos on farms. Some of the bills would even criminalize the possession and/or distribution of such materials. Furthermore, ag-gag laws could be used to penalize whistleblowers—including employees—for exposing other illegal and unethical practices at factory farms, such as sexual harassment and employment and environmental violations.
Public Says “No” to Ag-Gag Legislation
A recent poll conducted by Lake Research Partners reveals that 71 percent of Americans support undercover investigative efforts by animal welfare organizations to expose animal abuse on factory farms—with half strongly opposing legislative efforts to criminalize farm investigations.
“We are very encouraged that the public recognizes the importance of these investigations and the threats that ag-gag bills pose,” says Suzanne McMillan, Director of the ASPCA’s Farm Animal Welfare Campaign. “Americans deserve to know where their food comes from and how it is produced, and the industry should welcome that transparency.”
With your help, the ASPCA lobbied hard to prohibit ag-gag provisions from passing in Florida, Iowa, Minnesota and New York last year. Unfortunately, similar legislation is currently being considered in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York and Utah. Please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to help us fight these harmful bills.