A United Front against Ag Gag

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF Executive Director on May 8, 2014

Legally Brief

What issue holds the power to unite a coalition as broad ranging as animal protection organizations, labor unions, civil rights groups, journalists, and environmental watchdogs? The legal work the Animal Legal Defense Fund does on behalf of animals brings together those who stand up to injustice anywhere—and so-called “ag gag” laws are truly an affront to justice everywhere.

In the last two weeks, the AFL-CIO, the Government Accountability Project, and many journalist organizations—including National Public Radio—led by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, submitted legal briefs in support of ALDF’s lawsuit against the state of Idaho for its controversial and unconstitutional ag gag law (and its recent attempt to have our lawsuit thrown out of court). In the lawsuit itself, ALDF is joined by the ACLU, Center for Food Safety, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in challenging the state’s attempt to criminalize whistle-blowers who might expose cruel, unsafe, or illegal activities on factory farms.

ALDF, PETA, the ACLU, and Center for Food Safety, are also representing Farm Sanctuary, Farm Forward, Idaho Concerned Area Residents for the Environment, the Idaho Hispanic Caucus Institute for Research and Education, River’s Wish Sanctuary, Sandpoint Vegetarians, Western Watersheds Project, journalist Will Potter, undercover investigations consultant Daniel Hauff, investigator Monte Hickman, professor James McWilliams, investigative journalist Blair Koch, and the political journal CounterPunch. ALDF’s similar lawsuit against the state of Utah for its unconstitutional ag gag statute has also received immense support from constitutional law experts and the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.


To put it plainly, lobbyists for industrial agriculture, like the Idaho Dairymen’s Association, are attempting to write their own laws—laws that sacrifice our constitutional rights to pad their profits. But the tide is turning and most recent ag gag bills have failed. Why? Because people are uniting against corporate ag’s attempt to “gag” whistle-blowers who expose the truth. And this type of coalition and bridge-building is exactly what will help us protect animals, people, and our planet.

Factory farming is not only the largest contributor to animal cruelty—with billions of animals brutalized each year—but is one of the top contributors to climate change and presents ongoing violations of environmental laws and worker safety laws, health hazards, food safety recalls, and challenges to our rights to freedom of press.

For this reason, animal organizations like ALDF are working with environmentalists, journalists, law enforcement, civil rights advocates, and labor unionists. And the Animal Legal Defense is one of the forefront national nonprofits pulling together these groups by taking on the serious problems raised by industrial agriculture. “With much of the conversation rightly focused on animal welfare, we want Idahoans and the court to also understand that this law has the potential to imperil workers, and infringes on workers’ rights to a safe workplace,” said Rian Van Leuven, President of the Idaho State AFL-CIO. “If a worker wanted to demonstrate that worker safety was being jeopardized by unsafe conditions—such as an unventilated manure pit, broken equipment, or an electrocution hazard—and they took a photo of such conditions, they’d be subject to criminal penalties. That runs against everything we stand for.”

In so many ways, factory farming runs against everything most of us stand for.


23 thoughts on “A United Front against Ag Gag

  1. Patty Shenker says:

    Thank you for fighting this very unconstitutional and dangerous law that is making its way, though mostly unsuccessfully, throughout our states. There are many frightening things happening in this country legislatively and this is one of most egregious. I stand with you.

  2. Jane Poretsis says:

    Stop the cruelty now !

  3. Stop the abuse .

  4. Gloria Geter says:

    I never realized how cruel & brutal these factory farms were until now. It’s wrong on every level , & must be exposed. Shame on the greedy people who profit from it. This must be stopped. Most moral humans feel the same way. Something must be done now !!!

  5. Cathy baker says:

    This needs to STOP. It’s cruel and inhumane to tray animals this was.

  6. No room anymore for the cruelty most farm animals. Have to endure. All beings feel pain but some sickos out there think otherwise and have no regard for any animals welfare. Yes they are farmed for food but that’s the more reason they should forever be treated with respect and a kind hand. I despise ignorance , intolerance , and the disregard for the gift God has given us . Cruelty in any form to any animal is Evil !!!!

  7. Cathy baker says:

    This cruelty needs to STOP…

  8. Karla Taylor says:

    This needs to stop now! These poor animals endure so much pain and suffering and not allowing thus horrific cruelty to be exposed to the public is not right! Please end this now! Animals are living sentient beings and deserve so much better!!!

  9. Gwen Cline says:

    We are seeing and learning so much more about our animals and how smart they are. Most treat their own with more love and compassion than many people. Just because they can’t talk our language they understand danger and they know what love is. This has to stop and the truth needs to be heard and seen!

  10. Karenna Love says:

    There is nothing more important than getting rid of Ag-gag bills, which allow us to expose hideous, barbaric treatment of animals. If we stop exposing the truth, the hideous acts will become even more barbaric and abusive for these sentient beings.

  11. Morgan Kanae says:

    These factory farms are so cruel. Now they want us to keep quiet about it? Terrible. So the same with Monsanto? Are they killing our Bees off ? Are we supposed to let them and just sit down and say nothing? What about GMO corn that has a bio agent inside the grains? Do you want your children eating this?

  12. Julie Warwick says:

    It’s obvious there’s a lot more going on the public is kept in the dark over. And that’s the way these companies want it to stay. Just makes everyone more suspicious. Guilty secrets

  13. Addie says:

    Exposure of the truth holds the key to changing it. When the general public learns what evil abuse it is financing, human decency will reduce that financing to a trickle. Thank you for fighting hard against Ag-Gag laws, which alone threatens the success of your mission.

  14. steve gibson says:

    animals deserve better treatment the what ive seen. and i dont eat them because of it.

  15. Sharon says:

    Please stop the horrendous treatment of all animals.

  16. Shay West says:

    Totally against anti gagging policies! Crock of crap it is! We should know whats happening to these poor animals! Ive turned veggie through all of this….cant bare the thought of an animal suffering to feed me! Feel healthier than ever tbh! Thanku all for educating us….DONT STOP! Keep fighting…we’re all beside you! X

  17. Robin Slees says:

    NO to Ag Gag!

  18. Nirvana Fakhry says:

    Please fight for the voicless.
    Pls defend our fellow friends at court .
    Pls end their suffering ..protect them ..
    They deserve better.
    Thank u good people.

  19. Dawn says:

    Wow amazing that in this day things still go on so disgusting

  20. Mary Mastro says:

    Unfortunately we live in Idaho. WE hate it here and have been trying to move for years> We have a ranch and rescue animals> Idaho has NO respect for the earth, animals or Seniors. All they care about here is BEEF and the macho- cowboy crap. They are for anything that is for killing animals for money or Pleasure. I live in one of the worst areas and as a woman /vegetarian/ who has a ranch life is not easy.Please continue to fight for these and all animals.

  21. Sandra Amici says:

    Stop Ag Gag now!! Animals deserve to be treated kindly and with respect and humans should be in cages. It is wrong to mistreat animals in any way and the public needs access to the truth about factory farms. More people should be encouraged to become vegetarian or vegan or even to eat less meat to save animals from suffering. Also, people should be educated to have less children so that we can preserve animals and our environment.

  22. michelle garrett says:

    this needs to be stopped!

  23. simona ruzbasan says:

    building the wall higher won’t help. but it will make the rest of us question you and fight even stronger

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