When is exposing a crime a crime?

When is a crime not a crime? When you don’t get caught? Sort of like if a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around. Does it make a sound? Maybe, maybe not. If someone commits a crime but there are no witnesses, is it still a crime? Maybe, maybe not. At least that’s what the owners and operators of slaughterhouses, factory farms, and feedlots across the nation are hoping. You see, all too often animal advocacy investigators come meddling into “Big Ag’s” affairs and have the audacity to videotape the cruel, abusive, and illegal behavior they witness and then share it with the public. I know, awful, right!?  “Big Ag” would have you believe, and indeed have gotten legislators to believe, that exposing a crime should be a crime.

These agricultural business owners (or “Big Ag” as they are sometimes called) make their money by exploiting animals for profit.  Too often efficiency and bottom line turn into atrocious cruelty and inhumane treatment.  And it turns out that when people see video of dead baby pigs being ground up and fed back to their own mothers and cows with festering sores wrapped up in gestation crates it hurts profits. So, obviously, these owners can’t have that news getting out. I mean, if the American people were to see the sinister torture these businesses are inflicting on their livestock they might not get that big contract from that major fast food joint that should be coming through just about any day now.

So how does one stop the slippery activities of these devious animal advocates? Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the Ag-Gag Law!  I won’t get into the technicalities, but the long and short of it is that this law would make photographing or videotaping cruelty or abuse to livestock illegal. That way, instead of having to stop the criminal behavior of the abusers, the documentation of the crimes would itself be a crime. Now that’s what I call getting ahead of the storm. To stop the abuse and follow the laws would throw the whole “Big Ag” system out of whack and take a super long time to implement.  The genius Ag-Gag law does away with the pesky need for reform and instead punishes those who are trying to shine a light on rampant animal atrocities.

The latest state pushing this bill through into law is Idaho. Even though the great people of Idaho are against the legislation, “Big Ag” proponents crammed it down their throats like legislative foie gras. So now the animals of Idaho have no voice but, lo and behold, the “Big Ag” businesses have found a way to keep their wallets fat. Of course if you ask the owners of these businesses they’ll say they’re not breaking the law to begin with. My question is simple:  if they’re not breaking the law why would they care if someone comes in to document what they’re doing? Shouldn’t that negate the need for the Ag-Gag Law?

Lock up the advocates and let the abusers go free. Is that the America we live in? Doesn’t it sound like some sort of Bizarro universe? I mean, don’t you want to know what’s in your food? Or how that food made it to your grocery store or better yet, to your table?  If you don’t, I highly suggest you Google “cruelty with animals raised for food.” Read a couple of those stories and you might just change your wonderful ignorance-is-bliss tune.

How the Ag-Gag Law works