AR Philosophy > Legalities
Welcome to the Jungle: States demand secrecy over meat filth and cruelty practices
If you're concerned with how some factory farms might be handling their livestock, two US states have made it illegal to conduct undercover investigations -- and now animal rights activists and whistleblowers alike have a bone to pick with lawmakers.
Only four months into 2012, Utah and Idaho have passed legislation that outlaws going undercover to investigate conditions and conduct inside the confines of factory farms -- and now authorities in Missouri are coming close to approving a similar "Ag-gag" act. If passed before the end of April, the Show Me State will become the third state in only two months to tell investigative journalists and whistleblowers alike to forego following leads concerning agricultural operations or else face the consequences.
Last month Iowa approved House File 589, a legislation advertised as outlawing "agricultural production facility fraud." Once Governor Terry E. Branstad signed the act into law in early March, police and prosecutors in Iowa were allowed the power to bring criminal charges against anyone who enters farming facilities by means of deception. The act was touted as a way of keeping agriculturists within the state from having outsiders infiltrate harm to their businesses, however, opponents of the law say that farmers were upset over how video footage and other information captured from their facilities were introducing information to the public that would cut profits by way of revealing the real conditions that livestock are subjected to.
Mercy for Animals, an advocacy group, is opposed to House File 589 on grounds that it makes anyone who "expose cruelty to animals, corporate corruption, dangerous working conditions, environmental violation, or food safety concerns at factory farms" a criminal in the eyes of the state. The American Veterinary Medical Association explains in their own report that in the last three years, Mercy for Animals has released footage that shows abuse within Iowa farming facilities, which means that the state can now prosecute journalists that obtain that footage by surreptitious means with the alleged intent of harming business.