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Taping of Farm Cruelty Is Becoming the Crime

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Taping of Farm Cruelty Is Becoming the Crime

From DawnWatch
April 2013

Critics call them 'Ag-Gag' bills.' He describes the work of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has created a bill called The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act. It prohibits filming or taking pictures on livestock farms to defame the facility or its owner. Oppel notes: Violators would be placed on a 'terrorist registry.'

It is on the cover of the Sunday, April 7, New York Times, titled, "Videos Show Cruelty on Farm and Taping Becomes the Crime." And it is on the web, titled similarly, as "Taping of Farm Cruelty Is Becoming the Crime."

With both the front page story and web article we see a photo of sows in gestation crates, which most Dawnwatch subscribers know are individual cages that do not provide enough room for a pig to turn around, or even comfortably lie down; each intelligent animal spends much of her life staring straight ahead or biting fruitlessly at the bars, going insane from both mental and physical distress.

Reporter Richard A. Oppel Jr. opens the article by describing some effective undercover animal cruelty investigations that have led to prosecutions of the abusers. Then he writes:

"But a dozen or so state legislatures have had a different reaction: They proposed or enacted bills that would make it illegal to covertly videotape livestock farms, or apply for a job at one without disclosing ties to animal rights groups. They have also drafted measures to require such videos to be given to the authorities almost immediately, which activists say would thwart any meaningful undercover investigation of large factory farms.

"Critics call them 'Ag-Gag' bills."

He describes the work of the "American Legislative Exchange Council", which has created a bill called "The Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act." It prohibits filming or taking pictures on livestock farms to "defame the facility or its owner."

Oppel notes: "Violators would be placed on a 'terrorist registry.'"

The article points to first amendment issues inherent in the various ag-gal bills, and the chilling effect we can expect from the threat of punishment for whistle blowers.

Please check the article out at http://tinyurl.com/d7hlpzz, and share it widely. Then why not send a letter to the editor? You can comment directly on the ag-gag laws or use the article as a basis for whatever point you wish to make about our treatment of other species or the need to move towards plant-based diets.

The New York Times takes letters at letters@nytimes.com

I send thanks to Mark Langley for making sure that we saw the article.


(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at http://www.DawnWatch.com. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts only if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include these parenthesized tag lines. Please go to http://tinyurl.com/254ulkx to check out Karen Dawn's book, "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," which when it was published in 2008 was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the "Best Books of The Year!")