March 23, 2018

Utah Passes “Ag Gag” Law

A new Utah law intended to thwart whistleblowing threatens jail time for anyone who takes unauthorized video or photos at commerical farms or other agricultural operations.

The measure is aimed to prevent the tactic, used by some animal welfare advocates, of gaining employment status to take footage of animal cruelty  at farms, hatcheries and meat-processing plants posting it online. Nathan

“Consumers have a right to know how their food is being produced and how animals on modern farms are treated so they can make informed choices,” Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy For Animals, said. “But now, due to this misguided law, consumers would be wise assume that food produced on Utah farms is the product of systematic cruelty and corruption.”

The Global Animal, a nonprofit group that protects animal welfare, released a statement that said “bills like this are not only a threat to animals, but to public health. Everyone trying to report a wrong doing or food safety violation would be made a criminal and silenced.”

Others disagree. Sterling Brown, the Utah Farm Bureau’s vice president for public policy, said that secretly captured videos and photographs do nothing to help the public. Instead, he said, the proper way for the public to handle concerns about suspect practices is to contact local law enforcement.

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