Since factory farming seems to be staking much of its future on its attempt to ban undercover cruelty investigations through the passage of state ag-gag bills, I doubt there’s an issue more worthy of our attention. I asked Paul Shapiro, who runs the Farm Animal Protection Campaign for HSUS, if he could update us on where things currently stand. Here’s Paul’s guest blog entry:
If you even casually follow the animal protection movement, you’ve probably noticed that recent months have been quite an active time in the world of undercover exposés at factory farms. Whether it’s HSUS’s investigations at two of the largest pig producers, Mercy For Animals whistle-blowing video at a Butterball turkey factory, or Compassion Over Killing’s undercover work at a Hormel pork supplier, Americans are learning more and more about how routinely abused farm animals really are.
Amazingly, the meat industry’s response to these exposés has not been to try to prevent the abuses; it’s been to try to prevent Americans from finding out about the abuse in the first place. Nearly ten states have introduced “ag-gag” bills that would essentially ban these important undercover investigations, some of them by making it a crime simply to take a photo of a factory farm without permission of the owner. While none of the bills have been enacted (and Florida’s was just killed), some are advancing through their legislatures, such as in Utah, where the House just passed an ag-gag bill.
If an industry wants to make it a crime to take a photo of what it’s doing, you know it’s got something serious to hide. Industries proud of what they do welcome transparency—they don’t try to criminalize those who shine light on it. Of course, readers of Erik’s blog know all too well just what the meat industry is trying to hide.
The fact that they’re so scared of Americans seeing the truth about how farm animals are abused speaks volumes about the importance of animal advocates continuing to show the public just what happens on a daily basis behind the closed doors of our nation’s factory farms.