The 2013 legislative season ended with farm protection bills failing in nearly a dozen states from New Hampshire to California.
Dubbed “ag gag” by animal rights activists, these bills typically ban photography and video on private property, require quick reporting of animal abuse and make it a crime to apply for jobs under “false pretenses,” according to a report by Food Safety News.
In the end, bills failed Arkansas, California, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming,
Activists aren’t stopping there. Several animal welfare groups have filed a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of Utah’s “ag gag” law, adopted by the state in 2012. The move comes just months after the state charged – and dismissed – the state’s first offender under the new law. Read more here.
Some in agriculture argue that these “ag gag” bills do nothing but make consumers believe the industry has something to hide.
“These videos display egregious cruelty to animals,” Katy Keiffer, host and producer of a food politics and policy show on the Heritage Radio Network, told those attending the recent Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit in Arlington, Va. “To pretend it isn’t happening or ascribe that behavior to ‘just a few rotten eggs’ suggest to consumers that you don’t really care and that you are really hiding industry wide abuse.”
“Tell people what the problems are,” she says. “Don’t hide behind these legislative farm protection bills or the rhetoric of terrorism.”