ALDF: Taking Ag Gag to Court, Please Act Now

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The Animal Legal Defense Fund, along with PETA, has filed the nation’s first lawsuit against ag gag legislation, taking Utah to court for infringing on the free speech rights of activists, investigators, and journalists by criminalizing undercover investigations at factory farms.

Take action! Sign the petition to stop ag gag.

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Utah’s ag gag law aims to prevent animal advocates and law enforcement from collecting evidence of egregious and illegal abuse of animals on factory farms.

Ag Gag & Animal Cruelty

Factory farms want to keep their cruel practices hidden from the public, but the public deserves the truth about how the billions of animals suffering on industrial farms are treated and whether or not laws are being broken that jeopardize food safety, workers’ rights, and environmental standards.

Shocking exposés from undercover investigations have revealed severe animal abuse on factory farms, like animals beaten, kicked, maimed, and thrown by workers. Industrial agriculture has also brought us the unsavory likes of ammonia and pink slime in hamburgers, antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” chickens abandoned by the thousands to starve to deathpregnant and nursing pigs held in gestation crates that never allow them to turn around, and sick and downed cows dragged on the ground to become lunchmeat. Corporate agriculture’s massive profit ratio and proven inclination to hide in a dark world of secrecy makes journalistic and investigative freedom imperative to the well-being of animals across the nation—and to our own health and safety.

Journalistic Integrity

Utah’s ag gag law criminalizes free speech. That is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund is joining with journalists Will Potter and Jesse Fruhwirth; Daniel Hauff, an undercover investigations consultant specializing in factory farms; the political journal CounterPunch; and professor James McWilliams, as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.  “There’s a long history of investigative journalism in this country based on exactly the type of research and whistleblowing that these laws criminalize,” Will Potter explains. “Ag gag laws make it impossible to report stories that are vitally important to the public.”

Utah activist Amy Meyer is also a plaintiff in the case. In February, Amy made headlines by videotaping the operations at Dale Smith Meatpacking Company in Draper, Utah from the roadside. Amy was charged under Utah’s ag gag law—making her the first person in the nation to be prosecuted under an ag gag law–although the charges were dropped after public outcry.

Ag gag laws aim to control our behaviour by instilling fear of prosecution. This is legally known as the “chilling effect” because it intimidates people from acting and gathering information—even in legally-protected ways.  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam recently vetoed a proposed ag gag law after the Tennessee Attorney General called the bill “constitutionally suspect.” Erwin Chemerinksy, a professor and dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, and a leading scholar of U.S. constitutional law, has weighed in in support of the lawsuit, explaining, “The Utah law is very much directed at restricting speech, and especially particular messages.  This is exactly what the First Amendment prohibits.”

More Information

News Link:-http://aldf.org/cases-campaigns/features/taking-ag-gag-to-court/

First Person Charged with Violating Ag Gag Law

Published on 22 Jul 2013

Amy Meyer was the first person charged with violating an ag gag law, for simply filming a slaughterhouse from a public road in Draper City, Utah.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has filed the nation’s first lawsuit against ag gag legislation, taking Utah to court for infringing on the free speech rights of activists, investigators, and journalists by criminalizing undercover investigations at factory farms.

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Animal rights activists fighting “Ag-Gag” laws

Comments Off on Animal rights activists fighting “Ag-Gag” laws

“It seems clear to me why this is happening, the heinous abuse & cruelty already exposed by whistle-blowers, has got agricultural businesses i.e.  slaughter houses & farms, hot under the collar…they are nervous having seen the effects an undercover 2 minute video can have on in their business”

” But by drawing attention to themselves, creating Ag-Gag rules & laws etc, its like they are already admitting abuse & cruelty is a regular occurrence within their business …hence the need for new laws, to stop them from being exposed!!

” I totally agree with ALDF on this, it’s the age-old adage, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to lose! I am sure there are many agricultural business where animal abuse is not tolerated… if I was one such business, I would have CCTV fitted & allow access not only to the appropriate governing bodies, but also to the likes of Animal Aid or HSI etc..I’m sure any company that did, would see a marked improvement in profits too!!!”

The ALDF is a non-profit organization focusing on the interests of animals in legal matters.

Forms of torture such as skinning calves alive, forcing badly injured animals (sometimes incapable of walking) into a slaughter line, and other horrendous acts are only made public because undercover activists document them (by reporting, taking videos, etc). Under ag-gag laws, that would no longer be possible.

“Ag-gag,” or “agricultural gag” laws, as they are nicknamed, are proposed ways of making it illegal for whistleblowers to observe and report acts of animal abuse at slaughterhouses and factory farms throughout the U.S. – essentially depriving the public of their right to know about such torture. Now, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is fighting back.

In opposition to such a threat, the ALDF has proposed potential legislation of its own, called the “Safeguarding the Public from Food-Borne Illnesses Act.” Such a law would attempt to ensure that “your state government and counties will stop purchasing potentially unsafe food products from any jurisdiction with an ag-gag law.”

Several states have already implemented so-called ag-gags. Criminal codes in Iowa and Utah threaten jail time for anyone caught taking undercover photos or videos (without explicit approval) in slaughterhouses and farming facilities. In North Dakota, such undercover activity is prohibited altogether. Kansas and Montana have similar laws in place.

ALDF has currently established a petition, (Please sign – USA Only) and is actively utilizing social networks to inform and organize activists.

Cody Carlson, a former investigator for the Humane Society of the United States, remarked, “The ag-gag laws pretend to be about preventing fraud, but they actually perpetuate it. They protect a system where consumers are regularly deceived into supporting egregious animal suffering, deplorable working conditions, and environmental degradation.”

PROTECT YOUR FOOD FROM CORPORATE GREED

Read about the law:-ALDF Law details

Read about the issue:- ALDF -The Issue

Read about the solution:-ALDF – Our solution

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