Legally Brief: Undercover Investigations & Ag Gag Bills

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director on May 13, 2013

Great news for animals! Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam will veto a controversial ag gag bill that has received national public outcry. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has been alerting the public about ag gag laws from the beginning, with tremendous support from ALDF members who urged Governor Haslam to veto the bill. Last week, Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper called the ag gag bill “constitutionally suspect” and charged that it would violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. ALDF applauds Governor Haslam and Bob Cooper for protecting the public from a law ultimately aimed to silence whistleblowers and protect animal abusers. Ag gag bills like these decimate undercover investigations on factory farms by banning photo and video evidence used to build fully-developed animal cruelty cases. This is why the Animal Legal Defense Fund recently demanded that the Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) prove its claims to have evidence of investigative tampering. These bold and unsubstantiated claims mislead the public and unfairly defame the work of investigators.

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Undercover investigations are central to building cases against animal abusers–and those who profit from the exploitation of animals. This week, ABC 7 news exposed its undercover investigation of California restaurants who continue to violate the state ban on the sale and production of force-fed foie gras (diseased duck and goose liver). Animal Legal Defense Fund attorney John Melia sat down with investigative reporter Dan Noyes and the ABC 7 I-team to discuss ALDF’s lawsuit against a Napa restaurant for flagrantly violating the state law. ABC’s report alludes to the ongoing problems of animal cruelty at Hudson Valley Foie Gras–a foie gras producer involved in ALDF’s false advertising lawsuit. The exposé aired May 6th and reveals the inherent cruelty in the force-feeding process, as backed up by numerous independent avian pathologists.

In other news, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally agreed to address the issue of deceptive egg labeling, and consider the petition filed by ALDF and Compassion over Killing. The petition asks the FDA to mandate the full disclosure of egg production methods–“eggs from caged hens,” “cage-free,” and “free-range”–so that consumers know what they’re buying (or avoiding) and producers can’t make premium profits off deceptively cruel foods (an issue first raised in 2006). We’re delighted the FDA has decided to pay attention to the growing public demand for transparency.

13 thoughts on “Legally Brief: Undercover Investigations & Ag Gag Bills

  1. Critha Franse says:

    Thank you Governor Bill Haslam!!! I am so proud to be from Tennessee on this day:)

  2. Dawn Harbin says:

    Thank you for helping the animals!

  3. V Reznikoff says:

    Thank you very much for standing up and doing the humane thing.

  4. Shari Yard says:

    Thank you for being the voice for these poor defenseless animals. We need more leaders like you!

  5. Tucker says:



  6. Joy Couch says:

    Thank you for your compassion.

  7. Shanti Bringas says:

    Thank you so much Governor Bill Haslam!! This was the right thing to do and you have shown that you listen to what the people want and you have compassion in your heart! Thank you for leading by example you have made me so happy and given us hope!

  8. Debra Rinaldo says:

    thank you so much for taking a stand for truth & transparency. This is a vital step to preventing cruelty, holding any abusers accountable & I’m grateful for your veto.

  9. Deborah Gordillo says:

    Thank you so much for doing the right thing. I wish you were our President!

  10. Robert Hickman says:

    Thank you for taking this action!!

  11. Valerie Moggio says:

    Thank you Governor Bill Haslam for your action in favor of abused animals.

  12. Renee Kilmer says:

    Thank you, Governor Haslam, for your veto of the ag-gag bill. It’s an important step in protecting animals from inhumane treatment.

  13. Cheri says:

    Thank you for your support on this important issue. : )

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