Undercover investigations have exposed patterns of horrific animal welfare abuses on factory farms and slaughterhouses, and led to criminal convictions and public health investigations. Rather than addressing these problems, a powerful organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) wants to criminalize anyone who brings animal abuse to light.
I have documented this extensively in my many years of journalism about the repression of animal and environmental advocates. You can read more about ALEC at GreenIsTheNewRed.com. ALEC wants to make it a crime to document patterns of animal abuse. It thinks the solution is to have zero checks and balances on this huge industry, and leave it up to factory farms and slaughterhouses to regulate themselves.
In the past, whistleblowers (not farm owners or inspectors) have documented baby chicks being ground up alive, workers urinating near a live hanging area, and turkeys and pigs being sexually abused. Investigators caught a major school lunch meat supplier abusing cows who were too sick to even walk; this lead to the largest meat recall in US history. The Big Ag industry desperately want to put a stop to these investigations for one reason: money.
This bring us to "ag-gag" bills which target whistleblowers, undercover investigators, and journalists. They have been introduced in 9 states this year, and last year they became law in 3 states. Some go so far as to criminalize anyone who "possesses" or "distributes" photographs and YouTube videos. As NPR reported, this isn't just about animal activists: these bills put journalists at risk.
Who is behind this? Big Ag corporations, working with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC has a model bill that labels whistleblowers, investigators, and those who share the footage as "terrorists." You may be familiar with ALEC because this is the same force behind many efforts to weaken environmental protections and silence free speech online. If you care about safe food, environmental and animal protection, transparency, workers' rights, or citizen-powered action, we need your voice!
Corporations want to use ALEC and "ag-gag" bills to keep the public in the dark. But consumers have a right to make safe, healthy, and humane decisions about what they buy.
Please sign to tell ALEC to back off and stop criminalizing those who are trying to stop animal cruelty.