Ag-gag bills have been popping up around the country. The bills would criminalize whistle-blowers who capture video in factory farms and slaughterhouses.
The California bill would have required anyone who records an incident of animal cruelty to turn the evidence over to the authorities within 48 hours. That would make it impossible to build a case, or show a pattern of continued abuse, which is what’s usually needed to prosecute animal cruelty.
Fortunately for now, the California bill is dead. Its author pulled the bill because it faced strong opposition from animal rights groups, food safety organizations, environmental organizations, labor unions and people fighting to protect the first amendment.
If ag-gag bills are passed, even journalists who end up in possession of undercover factory farm footage are at risk of being prosecuted. The bill isn’t good for anyone except the people who make cruelty their business and want a free pass to do whatever they want behind closed doors.
The failure of this bill is another excellent example of how we need to speak up and let lawmakers know when we don’t agree with what’s happening around us. A strong, unified voice does make a difference for animals, the environment, and people.