Ag-Gag Laws Target Reformers While Coddling & Protecting Industrial Animal Abusers

By Janine Jackson
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (9/22/17)

Simply put, if an industry goes after people who seek to investigate it, it’s a pretty good indication that they’re doing something they don’t want you to know. This is certainly the case with the animal agriculture industry. The term “ag-gag,” introduced by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman, describes the slew of laws introduced to target undercover investigations and whistleblowing about the industry. Because, it turns out, when people don’t just hear about but see piglets having their heads bashed against cement floors, or cows too sick to walk being picked up by forklifts, it affects how they feel—and how they act.

The battle between those defending the industry’s ability to shroud its practices in darkness and those fighting for our right to see, and then make choices based on that knowledge, is ongoing, and for the most part, and for now, sunshine is winning. A new report tells the history of that fight: Ag-Gag Across America: Corporate-Backed Attacks on Activists and Whistleblowers comes from Defending Rights & Dissent and the Center for Constitutional Rights. We’re joined now by the report’s primary author. Chip Gibbons is policy and legislative counsel for Defending Rights & Dissent, and a journalist. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Chip Gibbons. …

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