12 March 2012

ALDF creates site to combat 'ag-gag' laws, proposes 'Protect Your Food Act'

Imagine if documentaries like “Earthlings,” never existed because it would be considered illegal to show the truth of animal cruelty through documented videos. Imagine facilities being able to get away with dangerous pesticides and food processes that deserve reform and recalls, but their products are still on grocery shelves.

Unfortunately, this could be a reality and your health is potentially at risk. From animal cruelty to unsanitary conditions exploited in agricultural practices, legislation known as “ag-gag” laws are attempting to criminalize investigators who document these facilities without permission.

For example, it would be punishable by law if a person were to videotape an agricultural facility violating health standards to inform the public of those practices. These laws pose potential health risks since it enables the exploitation of animals with no additional accountability of regulations. By bringing about awareness of this unconstitutional legislation, we have the power to be the voices of the unheard as the ethics and safety of food production is vital and should be made public to the mass population.

The "ag gag" laws are not a new trend as they have made their way in Kansas, Montana, and Kentucky in the early 1990s. In 2011, the reformed "ag-gag" laws were proposed in 4 different states, including: Florida, New York, Minnesota, and Iowa. The agricultural lobbyists are pushing even harder for the the legislation to pass throughout the United States; within this week, Iowa has already passed House File 589. While the older "ag gag" laws were enforced to protect farming factories, the new and reformed "ag gag" laws are reinforced to stop investigations of the farming factories without written permission.

Agricultural lobbyists are pushing to criminalize anyone who takes videos, photographs, or any form of documentation of animals or crops in agricultural practices without permission of that facility. Documentation of these exploited practices will be deemed unlawful to distribute and promote investigators' findings.

Animal farm factories already have  protection against trespassing, fraud, and criminal activities -- this legislation being promoted is an excuse for corporations to hide from the public eye.  Without these private investigations that have taken place, many recalls and reforms in the factories would have been kept secret, posing a health threat to the general public as well as furthering the unethical treatment of animals. According to protectyourfood.org, “Appalling and dangerous conditions videotaped during a recent investigation at a California factory farm—a major supplier to the National School Lunch Program—prompted the recall of 143 million pounds of beef, the largest beef recall in American history.”

It is important to note that major recalls and safety hazards have given a voice to the ones that cannot speak. This legislation also makes it illegal for workers to record their conditions in these facilities; in the past, these documentations have been used to bring about change to promote legal and safe working conditions. The true purpose behind these laws are to criminalize whistleblowers which in turn enables corporations to continue detrimental practices without having to answer to the public. Without truths being exposed, how will reform and change continue to happen in the food industry?

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has proposed the, "Protect Your Food Act," to protect our population from food safety hazards by stopping state governments from giving shares or purchasing food products that have passed any form of "ag gag" laws. This act will help by keeping you and your family safe from not consuming potential lethal food as well as not enabling the unethical treatment of animals. With criminalized documentation in place, you are at risk for food-borne pathogens that could possibly lead to death. The Animal Legal Defense Fund has provided valuable resources to say "no" to corporations who want to get away with unethical practices. Sign the petition today and tell your local state legislator to support the, "Protect Your Food Act." Let your voice be heard!

Erika Ritter | Email |Facebook
Stay-at-home cat mom and freelance writer, Erika has been a vegetarian for over three years--slowly converting to a raw food vegan diet. She enjoys cooking and trying new recipes even if they don't always work in her favor. She loves to learn about people from different backgrounds as this creates a greater insight of creating open-mindedness. Diving into holistic healing, she is exploring the connection between alternative dieting lifestyles and spirituality as there is a valuable link between the two.

Photo credit: Screen capture