These pieces of legislation have been given several nicknames over the past few years such as “Ag-gag” and anti-whistleblower. There has been a large push from animal rights activists to defeat the proposed legislation. But farmers and ranchers are concerned with their livelihood when the activists are trying to put them out of business. There have been many reported cases of animal cruelty and undercover videos taken on farms but in many cases the farmer sees the footage for the first time on the news or in the paper not from the individual that recorded videos on their farm. The farmer needs to know if cruelty is happening on their property so the individual responsible can be confronted.
These proposed bills would require videos to be turned over to authorities within 24 hours to 5 days depending on the state. The legislation requires mandatory reporting of any cruelty so the animals are protected from extended neglect or abuse. The main thing that animal rights activists are supposedly concerned with is the animals’ best interest. So why do they hold evidence of cruelty for months before turning it over to authorities? In many cases the videos are edited and held until enough footage is available to give to the media or put on the activist website and by the time they are released the animals and employees involved in the video could have already been removed from the farm.
In many cases the farms are strategically chosen. They typically supply to large chains or brand name products that consumers will recognize. Either the video footage is given to the retailer or the retailer feels pressure from the media to drop the farmer as a supplier which can easily force a farmer out of business.
These bills have been introduced to protect farmers. They are not to cover up cruelty but to require it to be turned in, in a timely manner to farmers and authorities. Bills became law in Iowa, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Kansas, and Utah and there are bills in progress in Arizona, Idaho, Indiana and New Hampshire.