It used to seem like a few times a year some story would come out exposing animal cruelty at large scale farms. This kind of information has been crucial in combatting animal abuse for years but has increasingly been facing challenges from local law makers. A recent NY Times article dug into these laws that would make undercover farm investigations illegal. In some cases investigators would be deemed terrorist, regarded on the same level as those who try to harm innocent people with crude explosives.
While these exposés are odiously received by the meat processors, they have been a crucial tool in keeping the industry in check. Both the USDA and FDA go through long processes to regulate meat production, often with lukewarm results, and investigative reporting is a way to rapidly bring information to the public.
It would be a shame to see these agricultural gag orders, or ag gags, become prevalent in the US. The more we know about our food system and the more we can do to improve it is in everyone’s interest.
UPDATE: A great interactive map was put together by Susie Cagle for Grist laying out ag gag legislation across the country. Check it out here.