The term “Ag-gag” was coined by The New York Times food columnist, Mark Bittman, in 2011 for the bill that was introduced in a number of states prohibiting undercover videotaping, photography, and sound recording of farms and slaughterhouses. The Ag-gag laws are currently active in the states of Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah. Other states have provisions on the books as well that label undercover investigators, animal activists, and other interested parties as shameful lawbreakers, unconscionable felons, and even worse names that are often reserved for the most dangerous individuals in society. These laws pose a threat to a broad variety of values about which the people genuinely care.
This is why many Animal Rights activists and esteemed organizations, including ASPCA, are opposing this bill with a counter statement. The Ag-gag laws impact a lot of communal issues that are important for people; these laws also make the animal rights activists seem like criminals.
People are becoming aware of the fact that these laws are a direct threat to the welfare of the animals because a lot of farms and slaughterhouses treat the animals cruelly. This abhorrent treatment of animals needs to be documented so more people get to know about it, which will eventually enable the activists in convincing their governments to formulate laws against secret and shocking animal torture on farms and slaughterhouses. Animals cannot speak for themselves, which is why people need to speak up for animal rights and need to protest against animal abuse.
Ag-gag laws are not in accordance with the will of the public as they pose a threat to the well-being of people. Mistreatment of the animals while they are alive ultimately ends up putting the health of people at risk, inviting diseases such as mad cow disease, salmonella, and other fatal diseases.
A lot of people are cutting back on some foods just because they do not know from where their food is actually coming. Ideally, people should be able to educate others about how their food is produced. Some of these laws not only prohibit video recording but they also consider distribution of the videos, sounds, and images, illegal.
Polls show that Americans in general care a lot about animals and that they oppose their inhumane treatment, making Ag-gag laws all the more objectionable. The statistics of a poll conducted in 2012 by Lake Research for ASPCA showed that the percentage of American adults that support the undercover investigation and documentation of the treatment of animals in the industrial farms is 71.
Paul Schulman, Vegan Fierce