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‘Ag-Gag’ Bills Seek to Hide Factory-Farm Health Hazards
March 13, 2012

ChickensIowa just made it a crime to film undercover videos on farms. Utah’s state legislature passed a similar bill that has gone to the governor, who must now decide whether or not to sign it.

These “ag-gag” bills make it illegal for employees at farms and slaughterhouses to take videos and photos that can help blow the whistle on unsanitary and illegal activities that endanger public health. Such legislation has become a disturbing national trend, but PCRM’s legislative team is joining other organizations in fighting back.

PCRM recently asked citizens of New York to protect public health by opposing an “ag-gag” bill in their state. People who uncover violations of food safety, environmental protection, and animal welfare laws should be protected—not prosecuted.

Undercover videos help document unsanitary conditions endured by animals raised for meat and dairy products. These unsanitary environments are profoundly inhumane—and they can also lead to public health disasters such as outbreaks of foodborne illness.

The salmonella contamination that sickened 1,500 people across the country a few years ago might have been prevented if the conditions at of one of the egg facilities at the center of the outbreak had been exposed earlier. Here are some of the conditions at that farm:

  • Chicken manure piles up to 8-feet high
  • “Dark liquid” manure seeping through the concrete foundations of the hen houses
  • Live and dead flies “too numerous to count”
  • Live and dead maggots “too numerous to count”

We’re likely to see other states introduce “ag-gag” bills in the future. But PCRM will be there to urge residents of those states to oppose such legislation and help bring about positive changes to protect the lives of humans and animals.


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