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Article published May 3, 2013
Oppose ‘ag-gag’ law
Billy Eckerman Center Township
“Despicable, unconstitutional, ridiculous, immature, idiotic, and mendacious.” That’s how Tennessee newspapers characterized the state’s “ag-gag” bill awaiting the governor’s signature. Ag-gag bills criminalize whistleblowing that exposes animal abuses, unsafe working conditions, and environmental problems on factory farms. Instead of encouraging whistleblowing and preventing these violations, ag-gag laws ensure that consumers and regulatory authorities are kept in the dark. Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and Utah have enacted ag-gag laws, but such bills were defeated in eight other states, thanks to an outcry from the public and newspaper editors. In 2013, new ag-gag bills were introduced in Arkansas, California, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming. The language has been invariably drafted by the infamous anti-consumer American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Thirty newspapers and 60 national animal protection, workers’ rights, public health, food safety, and environmental organizations have gone on record recently as strongly opposing ag-gag bills. Each of us who feels that our government must never restrict our right and obligation to know where our food comes from should urge our state legislators and governor to oppose the ag-gag bill.