New Hampshire, Wyoming, and Nebraska are the latest states to introduce so-called Ag-Gag laws. Those laws make it illegal for activists and journalists to go undercover to expose animal abuse on factory farms. Last year, similar legislation passed in Missouri, Iowa, and Utah, joining North Dakota, Montana, and Kansas as the six states with such laws.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) developed the Animal & Ecological Terrorisms in America bill as “model legislation” for lawmakers to use when writing these laws. They equate whistle blowing on factory farms with domestic terrorism in which “environmental militants have used violence as a tool to force communities, businesses, local municipalities, and individuals to comport to their views.”
ALEC also claims that the Endangered Species Act, the Animal Welfare Act (which does not apply to animals raised for food), and the Humane Slaughter Act are all part of the “development of animal/environmental extremism.” Other items on ALEC’s agenda include prohibiting efforts to oppose GMO crops, forbidding local governments from limiting pesticide use, privatizing public water and sewer systems, and protecting polluting corporations from civil and criminal liability.
In Wyoming, the bill HB 0126 was introduced weeks after the Humane Society released an undercover video of workers at Wyoming Premium Farms kicking piglets, beating mother pigs, and swinging them by their hind legs. One of the problems with animal abuse is that these actions don’t happen in a vacuum. Mishandling of foods such as eggs, milk, and meat can lead to contamination that causes foodborne illness outbreaks. In addition, scientists link stressed animals to problems with food safety, since cows, pigs, and chickens undergo physiological changes when abused that increase their chances of catching disease.”