New York is the latest state to consider an ag-gag bill. S5172 would prohibit "unauthorized video, audio recording or photography done without the farm owner's written consent," punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to a thousand dollars.
Why am I so up in arms over these ag-gag bills? Sure, they would take away an important tool for animal groups that use undercover videos to show the public what factory farming is about. But more importantly, they are the latest attempt to silence animal advocates. These bills are not the first, and they won't be the last attempt to silence us. But we have to fight them in every state where they crop up.
Animal rights is not about factory farming and how cruel the farm is allowed to be before the animals are slaughtered. Animal rights is about respecting the rights of other sentient beings to be free from human use and oppression. But videos are an important tool to get people thinking about the issues, and in some cases, even prosecute farm workers for animal cruelty.
Workers at the E6 cattle farm in Texas are now facing criminal charges after an undercover video showed employees bashing calves in the head with pickaxes and hammers. According to Katerina Lorenzatos Makris of Examiner.com, "Castro County DA James R. Horton said that without the footage from Mercy for Animals (MFA) 'we wouldn't have anything' in terms of evidence against the suspects in the beating deaths of dairy calves at E6 Cattle Co. in Hart, Texas."
- What are "Ag-Gag" Laws, and Why Are They Dangerous?
- Bills to Ban Undercover Factory Farming Videos Moving Ahead
- Florida Ag-Gag Bill Dies
- Minnesota Ag-Gag Bill Dies