The Ag-Gag World — Where Victimizers are the Victims

David Cassuto

We’ve spent considerable blawgwidth here on Ag-Gag laws, with more doubtlessly to come.  Recently, I’ve been asked to speak and blog about the issue a fair bit and from that emerged the following post.  It is or will be posted in some places where people are less familiar with the issue.  (I’ll update with links)

ag-gag-factory-farming-1Agricultural animals are not covered by the federal Animal Welfare Act.  Many states also exclude them from their anti-cruelty laws.  As a result, they have virtually no legal protections and spend their short lives in horrific misery before being turned into salable flesh (or, in the case of laying hens, into compost).  However, there are a few federal regulations that still apply and some states do not exempt them from cruelty protections. The most powerful force for animal protection, though, is public outrage.  Most people do not know how animals are treated in agriculture and are outraged when they learn.  Consequently, activists sometimes chronicle some of the more egregious abuses in undercover videos.  The videos themselves document everything from standard procedures in factory farms to deliberate, conscience-shocking acts of sadism.

Faced with these abuses, how have state legislatures reacted?  By turning the videographers into criminals.  People who expose the animal abuses now face draconian penalties and felony status.  So-called “Ag-Gag” bills have become law in a dozen states with several more poised to make the leap.  Under one proposed law, named the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act  (you can’t make this stuff up), those convicted of documenting animal abuse at agricultural facilities would potentially face felony charges and have their name added to a “terrorist registry.” 

I am in the midst of a monograph that discusses how in the absence of any legal protections, agricultural animals cannot be victims in the eyes of the law.  This despite the unspeakable cruelty they must routinely endure.  That leaves a “victim vacuum” of sorts.  And nature abhors a vacuum.  So, now we have a campaign to protect the victimizers.  This is the world of Ag-Gag laws.  The mainstream media has started to cover this phenomenon and you can read about it  here, here, and here.

Imagine a world where, faced with widespread condemnation of their sadistic practices, the abusers successfully lobby the government to make exposing their behavior into a felony.

There now.  You’ve imagined the United States.   Now what?

7 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Animal Connection.

  2. Everyone of these innocent, defenseless animals should be covered by the Animal Welfare Act. They give their lives for us; the least we can do is ensure their short lives are free of suffering and deliberate torture. Bravo to those who try to report those responsible for suffering and torture! For those responsible, what has happened to your respect for life and compassion for another’s suffering? May you be judged accordingly when that day comes!!!

  3. Terrorists, felony charges; so they want to bring out the big guns and since they do they need a lot proof on who was holding the camera and how are they going to prove that ! If somebody is charged let me know I’ll chip in for their lawyer .

  4. Sign and Spred the Federal Petition to Stop Ag Gag Laws from Passing – http://tinyurl.com/bnlnwu3 – #AgGagBad

  5. This whole ruse meant to cover-up abuse and silence whistle blowers may very well backfire on the animal industries. Nearly every nonvegan I’ve spoken to is highly suspicious of what there is to hide. No one likes to think their food comes from a place so “secret” that it’s illegal to see and tell of.

    As usual man’s mind works overtime in what is prohibited. It leaves so much more in the active imagination of meat consumers to fill in the blanks. All these laws do is confirm that whatever goes on inside those windowless sheds and slaughterhouses has got to be really dirty. What doofuses these animal-ag folks are… They can’t even see their own folly for the desperation that it is.

  6. Protecting offenders and prosecuting whistleblowers reminds me of Sibel Edmonds CLASSIFIED WOMAN, a must-read for any anti-ag-gagger: http://www.classifiedwoman.com

    Dear commenter Shirley White: Do you really mean to say: “They give their lives for us….”?

    Are you sure you didn’t mean to write: “They fight tooth and nail when we steal their lives from them….”?

  7. 今年 ブーツ ニューエラ レディース http://www.cn3gs.com/

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