Anti-whistleblower bills ("ag-gag" bills) seek to criminalize whistleblowing on factory farms, keeping Americans in the dark about where their food is coming from. Whistleblowing employees have played a vital role in exposing animal abuse, unsafe working conditions and environmental problems on industrial farms.
Instead of working to prevent these abuses from occurring, lobbyists for cruel factory farming corporations have been working to prevent people from finding out about such problems by pushing anti-whistleblower bills.
What do anti-whistleblower bills do?
Anti-whistleblower bills effectively block anyone from exposing animal cruelty, food-safety issues, poor working conditions and more in factory farms. These bills can also suppress investigations into cruel horse soring, mistreatment of animals in laboratories and other abuses. These bills could do this by:
- Banning taking a photo or video of a factory farm without permission
- Essentially making it a crime for an investigator to get work at a factory farm
- Requiring mandatory reporting with impossibly short timelines so that no pattern of abuse can be documented
What is Big Ag's big secret?
These anti-whistleblower bills raise the question, "What does animal agriculture have to hide?" By criminalizing whistleblowing, these bills would make important undercover investigations impossible—investigations like:
- The HSUS exposé of calf abuse at a Vermont slaughter plant that led to the plant's closure and a felony criminal conviction.
- The HSUS investigation of a cow slaughter plant in California, which prompted the largest meat recall in U.S. history and criminal convictions too.
- The HSUS investigation of Wyoming Premium Farms, which documented rampant animal abuse and brought charges of criminal animal cruelty for nine workers.
In the past, the agricultural industry has introduced anti-whistleblower bills in dozens of states. Nearly all of these bills have been defeated, thanks to a strong outcry from the public, the Humane Society of the United States and other nonprofits, and newspaper editorial boards. Of the bills that did become law, several have already been struck down by courts because they infringe on First Amendment rights.
You can help fight ag-gag and expose cruelty to farm animals by:
- Sharing the investigations the industry doesn't want the public to see
- Pledging to reduce your meat consumption
Who opposes anti-whistleblower bills?
The Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal welfare organization in the nation, and more than 70 groups including civil liberties, public health, food safety, environmental, food justice, animal welfare, legal, workers' rights, journalism and First Amendment organizations strongly oppose anti-whistleblower bills.