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)
Agricultural 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.” (more…)
For those of you in the New Haven area today, please join me at iV, the Ivy League Vegan Conference. It looks like a very interesting day. I am on a panel about Ag-Gag laws.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law | Tagged: ag-gag, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal welfare, industrial farming, iV -- Ivy League Vegan Conference, veganism | Leave a Comment »
Terrorists, extreme vegetarians, crazy vegans… is that what they are calling us now? That is certainly what Senator David Hinkins, the Sponsor of Utah’s bill H.B. 187 that prohibits trespassing, photographing, or filming at agriculture operations said about the people opposing the bill. In defense of the bill, he argues the bill is aimed at “the vegetarian people” and “crazy vegans” who “are trying to kill the animal industry” referring to animal welfarists and those concerned with dredging out the truth about the agriculture industry as “terrorists.”
Sorry Senator Hinkins, but I don’t think that is what us “vegetarian people” are doing. Last time I checked, the vegetarian, vegan, and animal welfare movements were hinged on notions and principles such as cruelty free, environmentally friendly, and a reduction of harm and suffering for all species. The advancement of our movement has never been achieved by terrorist tactics such as fear inducing threats, punishment for exposing the truth, and suppressing people’s rights. It is a far stretch of the imagination to compare the animal welfare movement to a terrorist movement considering our mission is to end the suffering of species beyond our own. (more…)
The New York “ag-gag” bill S 5172, designed to deter meth addicts from stealing anhydrous ammonia overdosed on reason and died today on the senate floor. Maybe the New York state representatives realized that the majority of meth labs in this country have been outsourced to Mexico.
Or maybe they realized that anhydrous ammonia is primarily used for plant/ soil fertilization and since factory farmed animals are not pasture raised, animal farmers probably don’t have that much NH3 lying around anymore. (more…)
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law | Tagged: ag-gag, anhydrous ammonia, animal advocacy, animal ethics, animal law, animal welfare, ASPCA, CAFOS, Constitutional Law, environmental ethics, factory farms, farmed animals, First Amendment, industrial farming, meth labs, New York, photojournalism | 2 Comments »
Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, and most recently New York have introduced bills designed to suppress undercover photojournalism which exposes food safety issues, criminal activity, and the abuses that occur behind the closed doors of the animal agribusiness. Although these bills have slightly different language, each one, if passed would criminalize the act of taking a photograph or videotaping farmed animal facilities without the written consent of the owner.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal law, Uncategorized | Tagged: ag-gag, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, factory farms, farmed animals, First Amendment, industrial farming, New York | 4 Comments »
Public perception has always played a significant role in the battle for animal rights. Newspapers, publishing houses and television have traditionally served as facilitators–and occasionally unwitting allies–of the movement. Due to the persuasiveness of visual aids, it is clear that the future battleground for the public relations struggle will take place on Youtube and other online media sources. These websites have revolutionized anti-cruelty documentation through the distribution of inexpensive, visceral and uncensored viral videos depicting the inhumane treatment of animals. This has elevated animal advocacy to an unprecedented level.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal rights | Tagged: activism, ag-gag, animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal cruelty, animal ethics, animal law, animal rights, animal suffering, animal welfare, factory farms, First Amendment | 1 Comment »