Credo Action

Tell Congress: Protect the whistleblowers who expose abuse in factory farms.

Sign the petition

Tell Congress:

“Don't allow states’ 'ag-gag' bills to criminalize documenting and exposing abusive, unsanitary, and environmentally harmful practices on American farms. Pass comprehensive legislation that protects agricultural whistleblowers.”

    You'll receive periodic updates on offers and activism opportunities.

    Tell Congress: Protect the whistleblowers who expose abuse in factory farms.

    A wave of right-wing, corporate-sponsored legislation that’s designed to mask and protect the ugliest abuses on industrial farms is being introduced and passed in state legislatures across the country. Here's an example of what they're trying to cover up:

    "On one covert video, farm workers illegally burn the ankles of Tennessee walking horses with chemicals. Another captures workers in Wyoming punching and kicking pigs and flinging piglets into the air. And at one of the country’s largest egg suppliers, a video shows hens caged alongside rotting bird corpses, while workers burn and snap off the beaks of young chicks."1

    These so-called “ag-gag” bills2 appear to be a coordinated, nationwide attempt by corporate Big Agriculture to silence and criminalize the heroic whistleblowers and journalists who expose abusive, unsanitary, and environmentally harmful practices on industrial farms through photos and video.3

    State by state, legislatures are passing bills that criminalize filming or photographing on farms without the prior consent of farm owners. Passing laws that limit the freedom of ordinary Americans, in order to hide abhorrent corporate practices, is beyond the pale. It’s time for Congress to step in and reassert people’s freedom to document and stop these practices.

    Tell Congress: Make “ag-gag” bills illegal and protect whistleblowers who expose abuse.

    This recent ag-gag movement was initiated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a notoriously right-wing group whose mission is to write and introduce conservative, corporate-backed “model bills” in state legislatures. Dubbed the "Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act," their model ag-gag bill characterized whistleblowers as “terrorists” and even created a terrorist registry for people convicted under the law.4

    Unfortunately, ALEC’s strategy has recently been paying off. Earlier this month, North Carolina became the latest state to pass an ag-gag law when its House and Senate voted to override the governor’s veto. Critics of the law are now concerned that in addition to helping factory farms hide abusive and unsanitary practices, the new law could also have dangerous environmental effects. North Carolina is a leading producer of pigs and hogs, and generates millions of tons of waste every year that must properly be disposed of. This new ag-gag law would likely discourage employees and average citizens from reporting a spill, leak, or environmental violation.5

    And according to an investigative report last month, the ag-gag law that passed in Idaho wasn't just a gift to dairy lobbyists. It was crafted by them. The Idaho lawmaker who introduced the bill even cited a recent undercover video of a dairy in Idaho as his reason for introducing the bill. That video documented cows being beaten and dragged with chains while being forced to live in pens covered with feces, causing the cows to repeatedly slip and injure themselves. Idaho is a major producer of dairy, with $2.5 billion in revenue generated from the industry alone. The dairy depicted in the undercover video, Bettencourt Dairies, is a major supplier to Burger King and Kraft.6

    The wheels for this wave of legislation were set in motion over a decade ago, and if we don’t act, the momentum will only grow. It’s well past time to put an end to this orchestrated and systematic attack on Americans’ ability to freely speak out when abuses take place and laws are being broken. And it’s up to Congress to step in and stop the legislative process from continuing to be hijacked by corporate lobbyists and their right-wing allies.

    Tell Congress: Make “ag-gag” bills illegal and protect whistleblowers who expose abuse.

    Thank you for your activism.

    1. Richard A. Oppel Jr., "Taping of Farm Cruelty is Becoming the Crime," The New York Times, April 6, 2013

    2. Ted Genoways, "Gagged by Big Ag," Mother Jones, July, 2013

    3. Leighton Akio Woodhouse, "Charged With the Crime of Filming a Slaughterhouse," The Nation, July 31, 2013

    4. Ibid.

    5. Natasha Geiling, "The Unintended Consequences Of North Carolina’s ‘Ag-Gag’ Law," ThinkProgress, June 7, 2015

    6. Lee Fang, "Emails Reveal Dairy Lobbyist Crafted "Ag-gag" Legislation Outlawing Pictures of Farms," The Intercept, May 28, 2015