The "ag-gag" bill turns whistleblowers into criminals. It makes it illegal to take clandestine photos and videos of animal farms for any reason.
Here's the problem: Pictures are often the only way for a whistleblower -- either a farm worker or an outside investigator -- to document abuses and threats to the health of consumers.
In a recent opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune, Amanda Hitt, director of the Food Integrity Campaign at the Government Accountability Project, wrote that without photographic evidence whistleblowers are too easily ignored. She points out that a USDA veterinarian, Dr. Dean Wyatt, complained about slaughterhouses in Oklahoma and Vermont and was ignored. It wasn't until undercover video surfaced that changes were made.
No video? No change.
Folks, we're not just talking about PETA here, this is about food safety -- this is about accountability for the people who produce the food you buy in the grocery store.
Don't care about the critters, you say? Fine. But I'll bet you'll care if the brisket at your next barbeque is contaminated.
Natan Runkle, the executive director of Mercy for Animals, said, "Not only could this ag-gag bill perpetuate animal abuse, it endangers workers' rights, consumer health and safety, and the freedom of journalists, employees and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply. This bill is bad for consumers, who want more, not less, transparency in food production."
"Demand for humanely raised, safe and wholesome food is increasing," writes Hitt. "From farm to fork, it’s time for transparency, not laws shielding consumers from information about where their food comes from."
When Hitt wrote her commentary, the ag gag bill had only passed the House. Now it has also passed the Senate and is awaiting only the Governor's signature to become law.