Target: Governor Gary Herbert
Goal: Remove Utah’s whistleblower laws in the livestock industry
Anti-whistleblower laws – which are also called ag-gag laws – are meant to criminalize whistleblowing on factory farms. It makes it illegal for trespassers to take photos or videos of what is happening in a factory, preventing Americans from knowing what is happening to the food that they are eating. Activists are striking at Utah’s ag-gag laws with a lawsuit, one of the first of its kind, meant to eliminate the law entirely.
Supporters of the law say it is meant to protect the property of factory owners, however many animal activists say the law specifically targets them, singling them out for punishment. The threat of prosecution makes it difficult for investigators to root out criminal activities happening in factory farms. Supporters also state that activists can keep tabs on the farms with current legal methods without entering the property. However, recent footage captured in previous years have shown otherwise; there is still a great deal of abuse that takes place in factories. Utah is the recent target of these laws because the state criminalizes both acquiring photos or sounds on the property, and entering upon false pretenses.
Anti-whistleblower laws were almost passed in several other states like California, New York, and Indiana. They were among the thirteen states who were introduced to this legislation in 2013, but it never passed. Much of our current food safety laws are in effect because of investigative reporting into our factory farms. To criminalize this reporting is to again deny the American public their rights to know what is happening to the animals and their food.
If you are against ag-gag laws, sign this petition and remove the ag-gag laws that are currently in place in Utah.
Dear Governor Gary Herbert,
I am writing this letter to express my concerns with the anti-whistleblower laws that are currently in place in your state. These laws, which are also known as ag-gag laws, makes it illegal for anyone to trespass on factory farm property on false pretenses and to take photos or record video of the factory itself. This law greatly concerns me, because even if a worker or an investigative reporter were to take photos or record video of abuse or contamination committed by the factory, they would be punished by releasing such information to the general public. Do you not believe that Americans should have the right to know what is in their food?
These laws were introduced in 13 other states in 2013, but they weren’t passed. Many activists believe these laws specifically target them and I can’t help but agree. Many of our food safety laws have come into being because of investigative reporting. By making it illegal to release evidence of abuse or violations of food safety laws, you are in effect, harming the American public. I urge you to do everything in your power to revoke these laws, as they grant more power to the factories, than the people.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Derek Balsley via Wikimedia