ALDF Spearheads Coalition to Oppose Ag Gag Legislation

Posted on December 21, 2011

The Animal Legal Defense Fund – on behalf of a broad coalition of public interest organizations – sent a letter to state legislators Monday in Florida, New York, Minnesota, and Iowa, urging them to oppose any legislation that criminalizes attempts to document unlawful, inhumane, and environmentally destructive conduct on factory farms.

Such laws, known as “ag gag laws” because of the restraints they place on free speech about agribusiness, make it a crime to take photos or video on a factory farm without the written permission of the owner. The factory farming lobby has advocated these laws as a means of keeping the public in the dark about how its food is produced.

Variations on ag gag laws are already on the books in Montana, Kansas, and North Dakota, and bills have been proposed in recent legislative sessions in Florida, New York, Minnesota, and Iowa, whose legislators are the recipients of the coalition’s letter.

What is unique and formidable about this coalition is the range of social justice groups it brings to the issue:

Animal protection organizations – like the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Compassion Over Killing, and Mercy For Animals – oppose ag gag laws because they criminalize undercover investigations that expose horrendous instances of animal abuse at factory farms.

Public health organizations – like the Center for Food Safety – oppose these laws because undercover investigations are often necessary to expose dangerous food safety violations that threaten the health of millions with dangerous diseases and bacteria, such as E. coli.

Environmental organizations – like the Natural Resources Defense Council – oppose ag gag legislation because it could prevent workers and citizens from documenting and publicizing violations of environmental laws, removing one of the incentives facilities have for complying with the laws that protect the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink and play in.

Farm worker and whistleblower protection groups – like Farmworker Justice, the Food Empowerment Project, and the Government Accountability Project – oppose ag gag bills because legislation that bans recording on farms prevents isolated and often vulnerable workers from documenting and protecting themselves against dangerous conditions, including unsafe work environments, exposure to toxic substances, and intimidation against labor organizing.

Prosecutors and district attorneys
– like the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the National District Attorneys Association – oppose these laws because undercover investigations conducted on factory farms are crucial to law enforcement efforts to prosecute animal cruelty, illegal working conditions, and risky food safety practices.

Civil liberties groups - like the Center for Constitutional Rights – oppose ag gag legislation because, at its core, such legislation is intended to stifle the exchange of information and the expression of ideas by keeping the public ill-informed about agribusiness practices.

By uniting a broad array of social justice movements and calling on legislators to oppose ag gag bills, this coalition sends the message that the public interest cannot be made subservient to corporate agribusiness. On behalf of animals, workers, the environment, and the public, we vow to continue our fight against ag gag laws.


20 thoughts on “ALDF Spearheads Coalition to Oppose Ag Gag Legislation

  1. Patricia Mundy says:

    Thank you for all you do!

  2. Thomas Tugwell says:

    Thank you so much ALDF!

  3. Jean says:

    Thank you for all your efforts. Don’t ever stop. Your cause is just and merciful. Can a person volunteer to help?

  4. Romy says:

    Dear fellow humans: Thank to the grace of God some of us do feel our animals pain and wish to divulge any and all abuse to such awesome part of the planet species. Abuse is in fact ABUSE! whether it be of power, economical gain or whatnot. We must open our hearts and let ignorance fade with information, but when this later is taking away by manipulating the source is a communist or socialist way with some abundance to confuse, get it? socialism is for the people not for the socialist!!!!

  5. Micheal Moffat says:

    animals suffer the horrors of overcrowding or loneliness, they are denied adequate rest, food and water, injury, fatigue, infirmity, poor health, distress, very young or old age and impending birth. all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty.this is domestic and international terrorism being carried out on these our fellow beings for profit. It is time for our government’s to wake up or stand aside. we have convinced ourselves that we are equipped to cope with suffering and that thinking leads to new sources of suffering. it leads to myth-making , self-destructive behaviour which has its roots in the sense of shame/guilt and for some to destroy life wilfully all because we gave consent, withdraw your consent. self-destructive behaviour is more common than successful suicide. The distinction, life associated with self-destructive behaviour there can only be lose with a survival instinct to live and so we become smart enough to work the machine and charged to never own it and pleading with self to cope.
    knowledge is not power its empowering….life has value beyond measure
    Peace and Love

  6. Kathi Roussel says:

    I hope to one day see the demise of corporate agriculture business–and hopefully in my lifetime. The barbaric practices employed by these institutional farming industries is undoubtedly one of the most horrific and ongoing forms of mass cruelty toward animals on the planet. I hope to see the return of small scale farming ( on a broad scale ) with respectful and caring treatment of all animals, with regard to health and environment as top priorities for both the animals and people. I hope that more and more people will take a stand and join you in your fight against unjust laws created to deter animal activists and progress made on animal’s behalf. I also hope that more and more people will through awareness, refuse to support the industrial agriculture business- buying local and reducing meat intake. The idea that this kind of massive torture and cruelty is taking place on a daily basis right under our noses is sickening.

  7. Karen Rhoads says:

    Well, I guess corporate agriculture doesn’t like the idea of the people knowing their dirty little secrets. Tough! We, as Americans, have the right to know what we are eating and where it came from. You don’t want us to know who’s doing what? Fine. We’ll boycott ALL commercial farms. Then we’ll be sure we’re getting the right ones.

  8. Anna says:

    This makes me sad I eat meat I don’t eat much but still I am very sad and so close being a vegetarian and even almost close to a vegan because I saw something horrible recently. I hope those animals who are suffering doesn’t get hurt.

  9. Alysoun Mahoney says:

    I am proud to support ALDF, and proud to support the fight against “ag gag” bills that would both violate our fundamental civil rights as Americans, and impede efforts to promote animal welfare.

  10. Philip and Barbara Burghardt says:

    Thank you ALD for all you do for the animals, keep up the good work!!!!!

  11. Robin Borsa says:

    Strong work ALDF!

  12. Susan Thornton says:

    It is so important for people to realize that the animals who provide our food are living, breathing beings with feelings just like us. While it would be ideal to be vegan, not all of us can adopt that lifestyle. For those who can’t, it is vital to care about the lives and deaths of these animals who provide the food we eat. There is no reason to allow brutality and cruelty in the care and slaughter of animals. Organizations like ALDF put the “humanity” back in humans; and, as humans, we will be held accountable for the responsible, gentle stewardship of our planet and its creatures.

  13. mariam willis says:

    Thank you so much for all that you are doing, the suffering and horrors the animals are going through cannot be ignored and hidden from the public…it will give them a green light for a total Holocaust and real danger for public health. I personally don’t eat animals and I sincerely wish that the abusive animal consumption would stop. I’m just thankful and grateful for those who have compassion and defend all the voiceless and helpless animals…thank you, you can count on my support always.

  14. mary says:

    We cannot call ourselves a civilized society when the treatment of our fellow planet inhabitants are treated this way, yet have the audacity to go to other countries to teach them how to behave civily. I for one do not believe that any breathing creature should have to endure this abuse. Even the animals don’t do this to each other only just to survive. Justice cant come too soon for these hapless beings. The ones who are responsible should be held accountable. Anyone who abuses an animal or child is very dangerous to all of us.

  15. Nancy Fleischmann says:

    Every living creature on this planet deserves a humane life for what ever period of time they are alive. I have no idea why we have to be so cruel to animals even if they are raised for human consumption. I cant imagine the horror of cattle seeing the members of the herd being killed and knowing they are next. I firmly believe they understand what is happening around them. As someone else posted I am moving towards becoming a vegetarian also.
    It’s heart breaking to know how these animals are raised and treated.

  16. ken says:

    To those commenters who are thinking about becoming vegetarian, take it from someone who did it recently that it’s not as hard as you think! After decades of eating meat, I read a couple of books about factory farming and gave it up overnight. And it was MUCH easier than I thought it would be. I feel better, healthier and more invigorated than ever. I eat better and more delicious food than I ever have before. I plan to evolve to a vegan diet soon. Give it a try and you will be surprised at how easy it is. Invest a couple of hours in educating yourself on how to do it (lots of resources on the web) and you’ll find it’s time well spent for you, your long-term health, and the animals!

  17. Marni says:

    We must never stop fighting for the animals.
    They cannot speak for themselves and evil thrives when good people do nothing.
    Agribusiness is about greed!

  18. Laurie Hein says:

    Thank You for EVERYTHING you do “Animal Legal Defense Fund,” for the animals who need us so much and are innocent and voiceless! Anyone who is on the fence about going veg, I urge them to try it out-”You’ll Like It!”

  19. Annette O. Bigler says:

    I am so glad you exist. If I could afford to have an animal shelter farm, it would be called “As you do it unto the least of them…”

  20. God bless all whom are speaking on behalf of these animals keep up the work always.THANK YOU